Blame it on fewer people entering the workforce.
According to the National Population and Talent Division's White Paper, as in other East Asian societies like Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, Singapore’s birth rates have been falling, due to rising singlehood, later marriages, and married couples having fewer children.
Broader social and economic factors also affect marriage and parenthood decisions. For example, with more opportunities to pursue higher education, people are starting work and getting married later.
In 2011, our Total Fertility Rate (TFR) was 1.20. TFR has been below the replacement rate of 2.1 for more than three decades.
At the same time, Singapore’s life expectancy has increased from 66 years in 1970 to 82 years in 2010, making it one of the highest in the world.
Here's more from NPTD:
Falling birth rates coupled with increasing life expectancies will result in an ageing and shrinking citizen population and workforce.
At current birth rates and without immigration, our citizen population will shrink from 2025 onwards. The median age of citizens will also rise from 40 years today to 45 in 2025.
The number of citizens in the working ages of 20 to 64 years will decline from 2020 due to more citizens retiring and fewer citizens entering the workforce. It will become increasingly difficult to grow our workforce through our citizen population alone, unless we succeed in reversing the declining fertility trend.
The number of citizens aged 65 and above will triple to 900,000 by 2030 and will be supported by a declining base of working-age citizens. We currently have 5.9 working-age citizens for each citizen aged 65 and above.
This ratio will fall to 2.1 by 2030. We need to mitigate this by creating more opportunities for Singaporeans to continue working beyond the current retirement age, and encouraging employers to tap this increasing pool of experienced older workers. Nevertheless, the support ratio will still fall significantly.
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