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Singapore’s resident population dips 1.4%; first-ever decline as some citizens, PRs remain abroad amid Covid-19 border curbs

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s resident population, comprising citizens and permanent residents (PRs), shrank for the first time since the Government began collecting such population data in 1970.

Singapore's resident population declined by 1.4 per cent to 3.99 million in June 2021, down from 4.04 million a year ago.

Singapore's resident population declined by 1.4 per cent to 3.99 million in June 2021, down from 4.04 million a year ago.

  • As of June 2021, Singapore’s citizen population dipped by 0.7 per cent and its PR population fell by 6.2 per cent
  • The non-resident population dwindled by 10.7 per cent largely due to a reduction in foreign employment
  • The population continued to grey, with 17.6 per cent of citizens aged 65 and older, up from 16.8 per cent
  • The number of citizen births and marriages also dropped

 

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s resident population, comprising citizens and permanent residents (PRs), shrank for the first time since the Government began collecting such population data in 1970.

It declined by 1.4 per cent to 3.99 million in June, down from 4.04 million a year ago.

Combined with a continued decline in the non-resident population, the contraction led to a drop in the overall population for the second year running.

This is based on the latest data from the Government’s yearly Population in Brief report released on Tuesday (Sept 28).

The resident population shrank mainly because more citizens and PRs remained overseas continuously for 12 months or more owing to travel curbs brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

They were thus not counted as part of Singapore’s population.

The fall in the non-resident population was because of a decrease in foreign employment owing to travel restrictions and an uncertain economic climate.

Owing to the drops in both the resident and non-resident groups, Singapore’s population fell by 4.1 per cent year-on-year for a second consecutive year.

This decline was steeper than the 0.3-per-cent fall recorded in June last year, compared with that in 2019.

Here is a closer look at the numbers.

The population as of June 2021

  • The citizen population dropped by 0.7 per cent to 3.5 million, while the PR population decreased by 6.2 per cent to 490,000

  • This led to a fall in the resident population to 3.99 million in June, down from 4.04 million a year ago

  • Overall, Singapore’s total population dropped to 5.45 million in June, down from 5.69 million a year ago

Fall in foreign employment

  • The overall drop in Singapore’s population was largely on account of a decline in the non-resident population

  • The non-resident population tumbled by 10.7 per cent to 1.47 million, primarily due to a reduction in foreign employment

  • The decrease was seen across all foreigners on various work passes, with the largest drop recorded among work-permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors

Immigration and citizenship

  • Last year, 21,085 citizenship applications and 27,470 PR applications were granted — lower than the 22,714 citizenship applications and 32,915 PR applications approved in 2019

  • Of the new Singapore citizens, about 6 per cent, or 1,344, were children born abroad to Singaporean parents

Ageing population

  • Singapore’s citizen population continued to age steadily

  • As of June, 17.6 per cent of citizens were 65 and older, compared with 16.8 per cent a year ago

  • The figure was 10.4 per cent in 2011. It is projected to climb to 23.8 per cent in 2030

  • The median age of the citizen population rose to 42.5, up from 42.2 last year. It has been rising every year in the past decade

  • The number of citizens aged 80 and older has almost doubled over the last 10 years

Fewer citizen births in 2020

  • There were 31,816 babies born to at least one citizen parent last year, fewer than 32,844 the year before

  • In the past five years, there were 32,500 citizen births each year on average

  • This is slightly higher than the 32,400 citizen births recorded yearly on average for the previous five-year period from 2011 to 2015

  • The resident fertility rate, however, declined to 1.10 last year, from 1.14 the year before, partly due to a general trend of later marriages and, by extension, child-bearing. This remains well below the replacement rate, usually taken to be 2.1

  • The median age of citizen mothers at first birth was 30.8 last year, similar to 30.6 in 2019

Fewer marriages in 2020

  • There were 19,430 marriages last year involving at least one citizen, a drop from 22,165 in 2019

  • Marriages have been on the decline in the past year on account of disruptions from the pandemic, the Singapore Department of Statistics reported earlier

  • In the past five years, there were 22,700 citizen marriages each year on average. This is lower than the 23,100 citizen marriages registered yearly on average for the previous five-year period from 2011 to 2015

  • The median age at first marriage for citizen grooms and brides stayed unchanged from 2019. It was 30.1 last year for grooms and 28.4 for brides

  • 30 per cent of citizen marriages were to a PR or non-resident, a fall from 37 per cent in 2019

  • 17 per cent of citizen marriages were between people of different races, down from 19 per cent in 2019

Related topics

population citizen Permanent Resident Covid-19 foreign workers birth rate marriage

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