An inflow of between 20,000 and 25,000 new citizens will be needed to keep the population of Singaporeans stable, according to a report by the government’s population arm.
The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), a group under the Prime Minister’s Office, said in a paper that immigration and raising Singapore’s total fertility rate will delay and slow down the speed at which the population of citizens declines based on a series of scenarios it simulated and charted covering a period up to 2060.
Its projections in the paper, titled “Citizen Population Scenarios”, hinged on variations between Singapore’s fertility rate (between the current level of 1.2 and the replacement level of 2.1) and the number of new citizenships granted in each year (zero, 15,000, 20,000 and 25,000).
The report highlighted that in the coming 18 years, some 900,000 Baby Boomers — adults born in the post-World War II period — will be retiring from the workforce, causing an “unprecedented age shift” in Singapore’s citizenry and exerting adverse consequences on its citizen workforce.
“An inflow of 25,000 new citizens per year would keep the size of our working-age citizen population relatively stable,” NPTD said in the paper.
Even if Singaporeans were producing enough babies for replacement, the number of working-age citizens would still fall by about 300,000, it said.
With an annual immigration of 20,000 new citizens, the decline would be lower at 200,000, whereas the number of such citizens would remain approximately the same if the inflow were at 25,000 new citizens.
NPTD also pointed out that citizen deaths are projected to outstrip Singaporean births by 2025, leading to a significant decline in our citizen population, due to the current low fertility rates.
The report showed that maintaining the existing fertility rate alone would result in a citizen population decline of almost 750,000 citizens by 2060.
NPTD also warned that “our citizen population will age, and age rapidly” as the median age of the citizen population would rise from 39 years last year to 47 years in 2030.
“Raising total fertility rates alone will not fully mitigate the effects of a declining and ageing citizen population, particularly in the next two decades,” concluded the report, adding that immigration will not only help to mitigate the rate at which Singapore’s citizen population declines and ages, it will also help to revitalise it.
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