18.4% of Singaporeans aged 65 and above in 2022, set to rise to 23.8% by 2030

Elderly getting free meals in Chinatown on 17 April 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)
Elderly getting free meals in Chinatown on 17 April 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s population is ageing rapidly amid low fertility rates and longer life expectancies, with the proportion of those aged 65 and above set to rise further over the next eight years.

The proportion of citizens in this age group rose to 18.4 per cent in 2022 from 11.1 per cent in 2012, according to the annual Population in Brief report released on Tuesday (27 September). By 2030, around one in four Singaporeans, or 23.8 per cent, will be aged 65 & above.

Reflecting the ageing population, the median age of citizens rose from 42.5 years to 42.8 years between June 2021 and June 2022.

“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 several ministries and government agencies in a joint report.

Supporting marriage and parenthood remains a priority for the government, which calls on employers, community partners and individuals to do their part to create a stronger family- friendly network.

Falling resident total fertility rate

The resident total fertility rate (TFR) rose slightly to 1.12 in 2021 from a historic low of 1.10 in 2020. The TFR has been falling for the past few decades, mainly due to the rising proportion of singles, later marriages, and couples having fewer children. There were 31,713 citizen births last year, compared with 31,816 in 2020.

The number of citizen marriages rose by a fifth to 23,433 in 2021. This was due in part to the easing of COVID rules helping couples to proceed with their marriage plans. The number was also higher than the 22,165 citizen marriages in 2019, before the pandemic.

Overall, Singapore’s total population was 5.64 million as at June 2022, growing by 3.4 per cent from June 2021, but was lower than the pre-COVID level of 5.7 million in June 2019.

The citizen population rose by 1.6 per cent to 3.55 million in June 2022 from 3.5 million in June 2021.

The permanent resident (PR) population rose by 6.3 per cent to 0.52 million in June 2022 from 0.49 million a year earlier, slightly below the pre-COVID level of 0.53 million in June 2019.

The increases in the citizen and PR populations were mainly due to the easing of COVID rules, as more citizens and PRs living overseas returned to Singapore.

The non-resident population increased by 6.6 per cent to 1.56 million in June 2022 from June 2021, and was lower than 1.68 million in June 2019. Most of the increase came from work permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard, and process (CMP) sectors due to easing travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, the pace of immigration remained “measured and stable”, according to the report. Last year, 21,537 individuals became citizens and 33,435 individuals were granted PR.

“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. Singapore grants new citizenships annually to individuals who can integrate and contribute to Singapore, and are committed to making Singapore their home.”

The report is by the National Population and Talent Division, Strategy Group of the Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore Department of Statistics, Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, and the Ministry of Manpower.

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