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What low birth rates mean for Singapore

Published on Oct 10, 2012 6:00 AM
 
Babies in a nursery at Mount Alvernia hospital on Jan 19, 2010. If Singapore does not raise its birth rate, the number of grandchildren of today's generation will shrink by two-thirds - and will still have to support their parents and grandparents. -- ST FILE PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

If Singapore does not raise its birth rate, the number of grandchildren of today's generation will shrink by two-thirds - and will still have to support their parents and grandparents.

Apart from the increased burden tomorrow's generations will face, the shrinking citizen population will also mean a shrinking local workforce. So, while efforts are being made to get more Singaporeans to reproduce, immigrants are needed fill the gap to maintain the Singapore core.

This is the crux of the nation's population challenge as laid out by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in a speech that was delivered at the start of last night's forum, but also appeared to wrap up a debate that has dominated dialogues in past months.

In a speech to about 220 participants, he painted a stark picture of what could happen.

 
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