Singapore’s total population stood at 5.64 million as at June 2022. The total population grew by 3.4% from June 2021 to June 2022 but remained slightly lower than the pre-COVID-19 level of 5.70 million as at June 2019. The citizen and permanent resident (PR) populations increased, mainly due to the easing of travel restrictions related to the pandemic as more citizens and PRs, who previously remained overseas continuously for 12 months or more, returned to Singapore. The non-resident population also increased, largely driven by Work Permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard, and process sectors with the easing of travel restrictions.
Family formation was adversely impacted by the pandemic initially. The number of citizen marriages dipped in 2020 when COVID-19 restrictions on weddings were in place. However, marriages increased in 2021 with the easing of these restrictions.
The number of divorces increased in 2021, in part due to the resumption of divorce proceedings that were previously adjourned due to the pandemic.
The lower number of citizen births in 2020 and 2021, could be due in part to some couples delaying their plans to have a child given the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19.
Resident total fertility rate, a measure of births per female of childbearing age (aged 15 to 49 years), has been declining for the past few decades. This was largely due to the rising proportion of singles marrying later and married couples having fewer children. Such trends have been observed in other developed societies and may have intensified amidst the pandemic.
In 2021, total fertility rate increased slightly to 1.12 after a historic low of 1.10 in 2020. This was driven by a fall in the number of females of childbearing age.
Read more: Population in Brief 2022
Empowering families across chapters of life
Aspirations for marriage and parenthood remain high:
- Based on the Marriage and Parenthood Survey in 2021, eight in 10 young singles aspired to get married and have children. Among married Singaporeans, nine in 10 hoped to have at least two children.
- Through the above survey and the Emerging Stronger Conversations, as well as the “A Singapore Made For Families 2025” engagements in 2022, Singaporeans shared their hopes for a Singapore where families could thrive across different chapters of life and also raised concerns about securing housing, the financial costs of raising children, access to quality and affordable childcare, and juggling work and family commitments.
Starting a family
The Government continues to enable access to affordable housing, even amidst construction delays due to COVID-19, to meet Singaporeans’ aspirations to have their own home before they start a family.
- With effect from August 2022, at least 85% of three-room Build-To-Order (BTO) flats and 95% of four-room and larger flats in non-mature estates have been set aside for first-timer families, up from 70% and 85% respectively.
Families receive support to defray the costs of having and raising children.
- Under the MediSave Maternity Package, parents of Singaporean newborns can tap on their MediSave to offset pre-delivery and delivery expenses.
- Parents of Singaporean children receive up to $18,000 for their firstborn through the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, Child Development Account, and MediSave Grant for Newborns, with subsequent children receiving more. The Government augmented these measures with a one-off Baby Support Grant of $3,000 to support families during the pandemic. Parents of more than 63,000 Singaporean children born from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2022 received the grant.
- Couples at risk of transmitting serious inheritable diseases can now benefit from new funding support for pre-implantation genetic testing for monogenic/single gene defects and chromosomal structural rearrangements.
The Government has enhanced support to improve access to affordable, quality preschools.
- From January 2023, about 100,000 citizen children will benefit from lowered fee caps at centres appointed under the Anchor Operator and Partner Operator schemes.
Read more: Marriage & Parenthood Booklet
Supporting family life
We are supporting Singaporeans in building more resilient families. The Government works closely with tripartite partners to foster family-friendly workplaces so Singaporeans can better manage their work and family commitments.
- The Tripartite Standard on Work-Life Harmony was introduced in 2021 to help entrench good work-life harmony practices in the workplace.
- We are also encouraging the adoption of the voluntary Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements. The public sector has taken the lead in making flexible work arrangements permanent, with all public agencies having adopted the standard since December 2021.
Ageing together as a family
Singaporeans are better able to take charge of their golden years in the care and company of their loved ones.
- The number of Singaporeans with registered Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) has increased over the years, from around 1,000 as at 2011 to around 150,000 as at October 2022. The LPA legally empowers trusted persons such as one’s family members to make decisions and act on one’s behalf should they lose their mental capacity one day. The Office of the Public Guardian Online system enables Singaporeans to make their LPA online.
- Singaporeans can plan ahead on matters such as CPF nomination via the My Legacy portal.
Families for Life movementFamilies for Life (FFL) is a people-sector movement that brings together like-minded individuals, families, and organisations to champion and promote strong and resilient families. More than 150,000 families have taken part in one or more FFL activities, events, or programmes while FFL online platforms have had more than 9.5 million engagements since 2014.
- FFL @ Community is growing a community-based ecosystem that makes marriage, parenting, and grandparenting support more widely accessible. Since its launch in June 2021, more than 15,000 families in Choa Chu Kang and Nee Soon have benefitted from its programmes, parent peer support groups and family bonding activities. FFL @ Community has expanded to Punggol and Tampines in 2022, with more regions to come in future.
- The annual “Celebrating Our Grands” campaigns encourage Singaporeans to show their appreciation for their grandparents and other elderly family members. In 2022, over 330,000 preschool and primary school students crafted gifts for their grandparents, up from 15,000 students in 2018 when it was first incepted.
- Campaigns such as “My Family Weekend” encourage organisations to promote work-life harmony and families to set aside dedicated time to bond. The National Family Week 2022 was also launched in support of the Year of Celebrating Singapore Families. More than 20,000 participants joined the family carnivals held at Suntec City and in the heartlands from 4 to 12 June 2022.
Uplifting families in need
A study conducted by the Ministry of Social and Family Development in 2021 showed that familial relationships generally improved during COVID-19 despite less frequent physical meet-ups with family members living separately. Nonetheless, some groups experienced worsened familial relationships. Stress and isolation caused by the pandemic could have amplified existing familial tension, leading to more conflicts, violence, or mental health issues.
- The Adult Protective Service and Child Protective Service received about 8,500 enquiries in 2021, a 32% increase from 2020.
- The Institute of Mental Health’s helpline received 64,000 calls in Financial Year (FY) 2021, a 39% increase from FY2020.
- The National CARE Hotline was launched in April 2020 to provide emotional and psychological support for those affected by COVID-19. The hotline has managed over 65,000 calls since its launch.
The Government continues to monitor the trends on family violence and offer assistance and helplines through the community. More accessible, integrated, and holistic support services have been introduced in the past two years:
- The Strengthening Families Programme @ Family Service Centre (FAM@FSC) was launched in October 2021 to consolidate marriage and divorce support services, and provide a new family counselling service, so that stresses faced by families can be addressed holistically. Within six months of the launch of the first five FAM@FSCs, 3,280 individuals received support, of which 243 accessed the new family counselling service. As at December 2022, there were 10 FAM@FSCs to support families nationwide.
- Families can also seek help through online platforms. For example, Online Counselling by the Community Psychology Hub has benefitted around 4,100 clients as at October 2022. For those open to strengthening their marriage or have decided to proceed with divorce, the Family Assist portal provides information and support for them to make informed decisions in the best interest of everyone involved.
Read more: Social Safety Nets
Celebrating and supporting families
Strong families are the bedrock of our society. To recognise their importance, Singapore has dedicated 2022 as the Year of Celebrating Singapore Families to galvanise everyone from the people, public, and private sectors to jointly celebrate their families and nurture a family-friendly society. “A Singapore Made For Families 2025” plan sets out our nation’s continued commitment to create a society where all families are valued and supported across different chapters of life. As individuals, co-workers, employers, and community organisations, we can all do our part to make Singapore a great place for families.