Singapore's population increases 3.4% after two years of decline
The number of citizen marriages rose 20.6 per cent, while the resident fertility rate recovered slightly from a historic low.
SINGAPORE: Singapore's total population grew by 3.4 per cent to 5.64 million as of June this year, after two straight years of decline, according to an annual report by the National Population and Talent Division on Tuesday (Sep 27).
Despite the growth, the total population in Singapore remained slightly lower than the pre-COVID level of 5.7 million as of June 2019.
The total population growth rate over the past five years, from 2017 to 2022, was slower compared with the preceding five-year period.
Excluding the effects of COVID-19 from June 2019 to June 2021, the compound annual growth rate for the total population between June 2017 and June 2019 was 0.8 per cent. This was already lower than the compound annual growth rate of 1.1 per cent between June 2012 and June 2017, said the report.
Singapore's resident population, which comprises citizens and permanent residents, totalled 4.07 million, an increase from 3.99 million in June 2021. There were 1.56 million non-residents as of June.
The increase in resident population was mainly due to the easing of COVID-19 travel restrictions, as more residents who previously remained overseas continuously for 12 months or more returned to Singapore.
The citizen population increased by 1.6 per cent from 3.5 million in June 2021 to 3.55 million in June this year.
The non-resident population grew by 6.6 per cent from June last year – mainly due to a recovery in foreign employment levels in Singapore after the easing of travel restrictions – but it remained below the pre-COVID level of 1.68 million in June 2019.
The largest increase was seen for work permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard, and process sectors.
MARRIAGES AND BIRTH RATES
Singapore saw an increase in citizen marriages in 2021, with the country also seeing its resident fertility rate recovering slightly from a historic low in 2020.
There were 23,433 citizen marriages last year, a 20.6 per cent increase from 2020. This figure was also higher than the number of marriages in 2019, which saw 22,165 marriages.
The National Population and Talent Division said that the increase in marriages in 2021 was due in part to the progressive easing of COVID-19 safe management measures.
There were 31,713 citizen births in 2021, a slight decrease from 31,816 citizen births in 2020.
The resident total fertility rate recovered slightly from 1.10 in 2020 to 1.12 in 2021. The resident fertility rate has generally been declining for the past few decades, largely due to the rising proportion of singles, later marriages, and married couples having fewer children, said the report.
This fertility rate was still lower than the pre-COVID level of 1.14 in 2019.
Last year, 21,537 people were granted citizenship and 33,435 were granted permanent residence. About 6 per cent of new Singapore citizens were children born overseas to Singaporean parents.
These figures were higher compared with 2020, due to the easing of travel restrictions and safe management measures, which previously slowed down the processes for the grant of citizenship or permanent residence in 2020. Such processes had to be completed in person.
"Immigration helps to moderate the impact of ageing and low birth rates on our citizen population, and keeps it from shrinking over the longer term," said the report.
"Singapore grants new citizenships annually to individuals who can integrate and contribute to Singapore, and are committed to making Singapore their home. New citizens either share family ties with Singaporeans (for example, through marriage), or have studied, worked or lived in Singapore for some time.
"All new adult citizens come from our pool of PRs, as individuals have to obtain permanent residence before they may apply for citizenship in Singapore."
Singapore's population is ageing rapidly, with low fertility rates and longer life expectancies, said the report.
The proportion of citizens aged 65 and above has increased from 11.1 per cent in 2012 to 18.4 per cent in 2022. By 2030, about one in four citizens, or 23.8 per cent, will be aged 65 and above.
The number of citizens aged 80 and above has also increased by more than 70 per cent from 2012.
"As a small city state that relies on people as our key resource, the ageing trend and its implications will hit us even more acutely. It is important that we strengthen our whole-of-society efforts to address this core demographic challenge," said the report.