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Thread: Non-residents push up Singapore's population 5.5%

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    Default Non-residents push up Singapore's population 5.5%,00.html?

    Published September 27, 2008

    Non-residents push up Singapore's population 5.5%


    MORE non-residents coming to Singapore to work and study pushed the population up 5.5 per cent in June from a year earlier, National Population Secretariat (NPS) data released yesterday shows. The population hit 4.84 million, but the surge in the non-resident number is not sustainable, and Singaporeans are making fewer babies, NPS said.

    'It is not sustainable or desirable for a population strategy to rely on non-residents for the total population to grow,' said NPS director Roy Quek, adding that while non-residents could make up a potential base of permanent residents (PRs), the inflow of non-residents is tied to the economy, which is expected to post smaller growth in coming years.

    'Our biggest concern is fertility,' he said. 'Naturalisation is a supplement. It cannot be the only strategy. The signs point to Singapore becoming a more attractive place to relocate, but we don't want to rely on that.'

    The number of non-residents surged 19 per cent to 1.2 million in June compared with a year earlier. Non-residents - mostly from other parts of Asia, such as China, India, and elsewhere in South-east Asia, are often here on work or study passes, NPS said.

    At December last year, there were 757,000 non-residents on work permits, 143,000 on employment or S passes and 85,000 on student passes, said Ministry of Manpower divisional director Jeffrey Wong.

    With more foreigners from different backgrounds coming to town, Mr Quek said integration remains a challenge and more had to be done to engage the community to accept them.

    The number of non-residents has been rising significantly since 2004. In the years from 2004 to 2007, their number rose 0.7 per cent, 5.9 per cent, 9.7 per cent and 14.9 per cent respectively. There are no comparative figures to show how many non-residents take up permanent residence or become Singapore citizens. The number of PRs this year rose 6.5 per cent to 478,200, while the number of citizens was up one per cent to 3.16 million.

    These figures exclude about 1,000 Singaporeans that give up their citizenship yearly. The annual growth of Singapore residents has hovered at 1.6-1.7 per cent from 2005-2008, up from 1.4 per cent in 2004, possibly because eligibility to become PRs and citizens was extended in 2004, Mr Quek said.

    More Singaporeans are also living abroad. The number of overseas citizens at June this year rose about 4 per cent to 153,500 from 147,500 a year ago, though Mr Quek believes this is an under-estimate. About 40,000 Singaporeans each are based in the UK and Australia, while about 20,000 each are in China and the United States.

    Singapore's total fertility rate among residents rose marginally to 1.29 in 2007 from 1.28 a year earlier. There were 18,032 registered resident births in the first six months of this year, compared with 17,325 a year earlier.

    The old-age support ratio - the ratio of working-age residents to elderly residents - fell to 8.5 last year, from 9.9 in 2000, and is expected to decline further, said Koh Eng Chuan, acting director of the Department of Statistics' income, expenditure and population statistics division.

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    Sep 26, 2008

    Population hits 4.84m

    It grew a record 5.5% last year.

    By Li Xueying

    THE sense of a growing squeeze in shopping malls, MRT trains and hawker centres has been borne out by figures released by the Government on Friday.

    Singapore's population grew by a record 5.5 per cent last year, the highest annual spike since Census figures were collected in 1871.

    This means that as of June, there are 4.84 million people living in this country, up from 4.59 million last year.

    Of these, the number of foreigners - fuelled by a fast-trotting economy last year - expanded the most rapidly, by a whopping 19 per cent, swelling their numbers to 1.2 million.

    In contrast, the number of citizens grew by 1 per cent, while the number of permanent residents climbed 6.5 per cent. Together, they add up to 3.64 million residents.

    The figures were released by the National Population Secretariat (NPS), under the Prime Minister's Office, which is tasked with overseeing Singapore's population policies.

    The nation's total fertility rate (TFR) is still low but more births were registered.

    The resident TFR rose slightly from 1.28 in 2006 to 1.29 in 2007. There were 18,032 resident births registered in the first six months this year, compared with 17,325 births a year ago. The increase is primarily due to more first-order births.

    With the recent enhancement of the Marriage and Parenthood (M&P) Package, the Government hopes to support more Singaporeans in getting married and having children.

    Singapore also welcomed more new permanent residents and new citizens. There were more foreigners becoming PRs and citizens, with 34,800 granted PRs and 9,600 granted citizenship in the first six months, compared to 28,500 and 7,300 in the same period in 2007.

    More Singaporeans are also going overseas for work and study.

    As of June, there were about 153,500 overseas Singaporeans (OS) compared with 147,500 a year ago.

    The countries with a high concentration of overseas Singaporeans are Australia, the UK, the US and China.

    Mr Roy Quek, Director of the NPS, who also heads the OSU, noted that 'having more Singaporeans go overseas is not a problem per se, so long as they stay engaged and connected with Singapore'.

    'The fact that many Overseas Singaporeans have done well in other countries attests to the success of the Singaporean system in producing top students, professionals and entrepreneurs who can succeed outside of Singapore,' he added.

    'We should celebrate their successes and help them stay connected to home, so that they remain Singaporeans in their hearts and minds even when they are physically away from the rest of us'.

    The new statistical publication, 'Population in Brief' can be downloaded from

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