Part 3: Changing times, Changing needs (Singapore’s Population Policy).
A. Reasons for promoting population growth from the 1980s
· Declining birth rate from the 1980s
By 1980, the fertility rate hit 1.82 children per woman. This showed that the family planning policy to reduce birth rate had worked. Other factors like increasing costs of living and people marrying at a later age, also contributed to the declining birth rate. At the same time, more jobs were created in the industries and a larger workforce was needed to sustain the nation’s development. Manpower was also needed for national defence. (Linking sentence) With the birth rate falling below replacement value, there was a need to re-examine the population policy in order to promote population growth, due to the possible problems a small population would cause.
· Unattractive to multinational companies
With a small population, Singapore would not be able to produce enough talented people to sustain development. Multinational corporations (MNCs) would find it difficult and more expensive to recruit Singaporeans compared to the huge labour market in countries like China. Singapore would also be less attractive because of its smaller consumer market. (Linking sentence) Since a small population may lead to decline in the country’s economy, it is necessary to promote population growth so as to sustain Singapore’s development.
· Ageing population
With fewer babies born each year, there would be fewer young people in the population. With a larger group of older people, the country would face an ageing population. As a result, the Singapore government will have to spend more money providing the needs of the elderly like nursing homes and daycare centres. (Linking sentence) This may lead to fewer funds for other developments. Thus, it is necessary to promote population growth to reduce the financial impact on the Singapore government.
With a declining birth rate, there would be fewer men to recruit for National Service. In the 1980s, the Ministry of Defence reported that the number of men enlisting for National Service has declined by 77.3% (1980-1985). This would weaken Singapore’s defence force. (Linking sentence) Without the presence of a strong military force, Singaporeans will feel insecure and foreign investors will not invest in the country. Hence it is necessary to promote population growth, to increase the number of men attending National Service.
· Most important factor:
I feel that declining birth rate since the 1980s is the main reason that led to Singapore promoting population growth since the 1980s. This is because declining birth rate is the root cause of all other factors. If the birth rate is high, the proportion of elderly would be lesser. There will also be sufficient trained army should the birth rate remain high. In other words, if birth rate is higher than the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman, all other reasons would be eliminated.
B. How did the government promote population growth after the 1980s?
· The graduate mothers scheme
In the 1980s, well-educated women in Singapore were not having enough children. Research shown that children of graduates performed better at school. Thus, if female graduates did…