Analyst: Giving more money to have more children will not solve Singapore’s low birth rate

8 months ago 85

In addition to high home prices is a “sense of instability…dragging people further away from having children", says Mu Zheng, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the National University of Singapore

SINGAPORE: While the government offers more financial incentives to encourage Singaporeans to have more children, an analyst says this may not work.

Amid the low birth rate and a rapidly ageing society, the government has offered bonuses and perks to entice people to have more children, from Baby Bonus Cash Gifts of up to S$13,000 to doubled paternity leave. However, a CNBC report quotes an analyst with the EIU, Mr Wen Wei Tan, as saying that more cash will not necessarily address the low birth rate issue.

“Tackling the fertility rate will require us to confront some of the weakness of the underlying systems … Which means not only addressing demographic challenges, but also helping to build social cohesion, and perhaps look at how we can foster healthier attitudes towards risk-taking,” CNCB quotes Mr Tan as saying.

The choice to have more children is rarely a single-issue one. Several factors come into play for women, including having a partner, affordable housing, and the maturity of the job market, says Ranstad’s Asia-Pacific managing director Jaya Dass.

She told CNBC: “The attractiveness of wanting to have a child has actually reduced significantly because of how life has matured and changed.”

In Singapore, the housing market has been red-hot for the past few years, with higher prices and small supply, and has only recently shown signs of cooling.

But in addition to high home prices is a “sense of instability…dragging people further away from having children”, says Mu Zheng, assistant professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the National University of Singapore.

Additionally, more and more women are putting their careers first. Women between the ages of 35 and 39 are now more likely to have a child than those aged 25 to 29.

Last year, Singapore’s birth rate reached a record low, seeing an almost eight per cent drop on top of years of decline. And with Singapore ranked by the Economist Intelligence Uni...

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