Many reasons why young people are single

It was reported that singles made up 70 per cent of those in the 25-29 age group last year, a sharp rise from 50 per cent about 15 years ago ("More young people in Singapore staying single"; March 11).

It is right to say that more help is needed for these young people to get hitched, but it may not be fair to conclude that it is their choice to delay marriage.

We first need to have a better grasp of young people's aspirations and the circumstances they face.

Contrary to popular belief that young people are choosing to put their career before marriage and parenthood, most young Singaporeans aspire to be married and have children.

Aspirations for a university education mean they will be between 23 and 25 years old by the time they graduate.

They will take two to three years to pay off study loans. Then, factor in another three to five years to build up their Central Provident Fund savings for the down payment and cost of a typical $300,000 four-room flat.

By the time they are ready to settle down for marriage, many young people will be reaching, or be in, their 30s.

The Government is constantly looking into ways to help young couples by giving more housing grants and reducing the waiting time for Build-to-Order flats.

However, despite the best-laid plans, not all will find a partner in their early 20s.

Even for those who get into relationships, things may go wrong before they reach the finishing line or, more aptly put, the starting point for marriage and parenthood.

So, let us be more understanding and encouraging to our young people.

William Tan Whee Kiem