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Higher wages, better employment, longer life expectancy for younger Singaporeans: MOF study

Higher wages, better employment, longer life expectancy for younger Singaporeans: MOF study

File photo of office workers at Raffles Place in Singapore's CBD. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: Younger Singaporeans earn more, live longer and are more likely to own a house compared to those from older age groups, although they are less likely to marry and have children, according to the findings of a Ministry of Finance (MOF) report on Tuesday (Oct 22). 

Looking at key socio-economic outcomes of Singaporeans born between 1940 and 1979, the report used several key indicators, including educational attainment, employment and savings, residential property ownership, health and family support.

The Singaporeans were separated into four age groups of 10 years each, with those born between 1940 and 1949 corresponding to the youngest 10 cohorts in the Pioneer Generation, and those born between 1950 and 1959 corresponding to those in the Merdeka Generation. 

The other two groups were Singaporeans born between 1960 and 1969 and Singaporeans born between 1970 and 1979.

"Each successive generation in our study has seen improvements in their lives, in tandem with Singapore’s economic growth over the past 54 years," the report said.

"Each group has done better than the previous across most of these different facets of socio-economic progress," it added.


More Singaporeans in the younger age groups received education levels beyond secondary school.

Only 22 per cent of Singaporeans born between 1940 to 1949 went beyond secondary school, compared to 79 per cent of those born between 1970 to 1979.

"Younger Singaporeans who are not included in the current study are expected to attain even higher educational qualifications," MOF said. 

"Today, students benefit from well-resourced schools and a large degree of flexibility in the education system, where they can choose from multiple pathways based on their strengths and talents."


Labour Force Participation Rates, median real gross monthly income from work and Central Provident Fund (CPF) balances have also increased across age groups.

The results were taken by comparing people in the different age cohorts when they were in their 40s.

The Labour Force Participation Rate rose from 79 per cent for those born between 1950 and 1959 to 89 per cent for those born between 1970 and 1979. 

This was due to more women entering the labour force, as male participation rates remained steady across three generations.

Real gross monthly income also increased across the age groups. 

Singaporeans born between 1970 and 1979 earned S$5,900 in their 40s, more than double the S$2,800 earned by Singaporeans born between 1950 and 1959 when they were in their 40s.

Median CPF balances in Ordinary and Special Accounts for Singaporeans in their 40s have also increased, with those in the youngest age group saving three times those in the oldest group, after adjusting for inflation.

"Today, the Government intervenes actively to support Singaporeans who want to work, such as by supporting skills development and employment facilitation," MOF added. 

"For example, the Adapt and Grow initiative helps job seekers affected by economic slowdowns to get back into employment as soon as possible. Employers also benefit from various grants and programmes to upskill their workers."


Residential property ownership rates have  improved, going from 76 per cent for those born between 1940 and 1949 to an average of about 85 per cent across the younger three age groups.

This was due to higher wages and savings, said the report.

Most Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat owners also own houses with leases that cover them until the age of 95.

“This also means that they have an asset that can be monetised if necessary, to supplement their retirement needs,” said MOF.


Singaporeans are living longer, healthier years, according to the report. Both life expectancy and Health Adjusted Life Expectancy have improved for younger Singaporeans.

In 2017, 45-year-old Singaporeans had a life expectancy of 41, six years longer than the life expectancy for 45-year-olds in 1999.

With the Health Adjusted Life Expectancy, the number of expected years also increased from 29 years in 1999 to 33 years in 2017.

The Health Adjusted Life Expectancy takes into account the number of years a person at age 45 can expect to live in good health, after taking into account mortality and disability.


"Although subsequent generations of Singaporeans have a better quality of life and more personal resources for retirement, lower marriage rates and smaller family sizes may mean less available support from the immediate family," MOF said.

Marriage rates dropped from 92 per cent for those born between 1940 and 1949 to 82 per cent for those born between 1970 and 1979. 

The average number of children per ever-married female also fell from 2.5 children for those born between 1940 and 1949 to 1.8 children for those born between 1970 and 1979.

“The Government will continue to work closely with community partners to support those who may need additional assistance, even as we encourage the strengthening of inter-generational family bonds,” MOF said.

Source: CNA/cc


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