More subsidies may help boost fertility rate

The continued decline in Singapore's fertility rate is worrisome (S'pore's fertility rate down as number of singles goes up; Sept 28).

Despite the childcare and infant care subsidy designed to assist families defray the cost of raising a child, it appears that the scheme is not effective.

One of the reasons often cited for people staying single is the high cost of living. With a greying population in our midst, it is time to take the bull by the horns.

We could perhaps consider giving higher subsidies to more families to encourage them to have children. This could also spur more singles to get hitched.

The state could possibly take care of the first three children in the form of higher subsidies in two key areas, namely childcare and education up to the tertiary level. This would take away the dominant worries of anxious parents.

We may be able to arrest this trend of a declining birth rate if we invest in our own people.

It may come at a cost since it could have knock-on effects on employment and social stability. But, helping to go above or at least remain at the replacement level is more important.

Andrew Seow Chwee Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'More subsidies may help boost fertility rate'. Print Edition | Subscribe