Singapore's obstacles to higher fertility rates

Singapore's obstacles to higher fertility rates

According to the Workers Party of Singapore, there are structural obstacles to the realization of high Total Fertility Rate in Singapore. These are the structural obstacles.

Let's look into the many obstacles to higher fertility rates here in Singapore. Feel free to share your views with us below.

1. Lack of work-life balance

Numerous surveys have shown that Singaporeans desire a better work-life balance. One survey suggests that nearly 9 our of 10 workers surveyed worked beyond their official hours, while 70% chose to complete unfinished work in the office with the remaining 30% bring work home.

Singapore's obstacles to higher fertility rates

2. Escalating housing cost

Homeownership is a high priority for couples, especially newlyweds. However, the cost of HDB flats has been rising steadily, outpacing the increase in  wages.

3. Income inequality

One of the many obstacles to higher fertility rates is income inequality. Based on the Gini Coefficient of income inequality, Singapore has one of the most unequal distributions of wealth in the world. Income inequality matters because anxiety over economic risk among young people affects family formation.

4. Lack of family culture

The marriage and parenthood survey (2012) noted that 99% of married respondents agree that fathers and mothers are equally important caregivers. Yet one of the often cited reasons for women not having children or having more children is the lack of support from their husbands, whether at home or for their own career.


5. Stressful education system

Is it surprising that the education system is in the mix of obstacles to higher fertility rates in Singapore?There are many entrenched policies that have led to our stressful education system. With primary schools offering priority to alumni and to parent volunteers, school enrolment is an unnecessarily stressful process.

6. Privileging higher income families

The current Marriage and Parenthood Package seems to offer more to higher income families that need less financial assistance in the form of the Enhanced Baby Bonus Scheme. The Scheme is a dollar for dollar Government match for money saved in a Child’s CDA. But this scheme assumes that a family has the spare cash to put away into the CDA.

7. Discriminatory towards single parent families

While having children outside of marriage should continue to be discouraged in our society, children born to single parents should not be denied the benefits that children of married parents receive.

Do you agree? Share your thoughts on Singapore's obstacles to higher fertility rates in the comments section below.


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Written by

Sandra Ong

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