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Non-resident population growth continues to slow: NPTD

SINGAPORE — The Republic’s non-resident population growth continued to slow this year following Government measures that rein in foreign employment.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — The Republic’s non-resident population growth continued to slow this year following Government measures that rein in foreign employment.

This resulted in the slowest growth of Singapore’s total population in over a decade, the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) said in its annual report.

Despite over 33,000 citizen births, the highest in the last decade along with the 2012 Dragon year peak, the island’s total population gained only 1.2 per cent year-on-year to 5.54 million as of June 2015.

Singapore’s population includes 3.90 million residents — or 3.38 million Singapore citizens and 0.53 million permanent residents (PR) — and 1.63 million non-residents such as dependants, international students and individuals who are here for work.

Growth of the non-resident population slowed to 2.1 per cent, down from 2.9 per cent last year. Foreign employment gained only about 23,000 in the year to June 2015, marking a constant slowdown since the 2011-2012 period when it rose by 77,000.

The citizen population grew by 1 per cent, a similar pace as last year, with citizen births and calibrated immigration.

Due to increasing life expectancy and low fertility rates, the citizen population continues to age, with 13.1 per cent aged 65 and above, compared to 12.4 per cent last year and 8.8 per cent in 2005.

Currently, there are 4.9 citizens in the working age band of 20-64 years, for each citizen aged 65 years and above. This is a decline from 7.2 in 2005, according to the NPTD report.

To prevent the citizen population from shrinking, the Government said it plans to continue taking in between 15,000 and 25,000 new citizens each year.

Permanent residence is an intermediate step through which suitable foreigners and spouses take up citizenship in Singapore.

Since the tightening of the immigration framework in late 2009, the Republic has taken in about 30,000 new PRs a year, to keep the PR population stable and to ensure a pool of suitable candidates for citizenship.

The number of marriages involving at least one citizen increased from 21,842 in 2013 to 24,037 in 2014, the highest figure since 1997.

The median age at first marriage remained stable for both genders from 2013 to 2014, at 30.1 for citizen males in 2014 (same as 2013) and 27.9 for citizen females in 2014 (compared to 27.8 in 2013).

Transnational marriages (between citizens and non-citizens) continued to comprise more than a third of all marriages involving citizens last year. The proportion of inter-ethnic marriages has almost doubled from a decade ago to 20 per cent, reflecting the increasing diversity in Singapore’s population, the NPTD said. KIM SO-HYUN

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