We thank Mr Marcus Tan for his suggestions (Research needed on the factors influencing family size preferences, Nov 16).
We agree with Mr Tan that it is important to conduct engagement and research to better understand the factors affecting marriage and parenthood decisions, to inform and guide our policies.
Over the past two years, we have engaged over 6,000 individuals via surveys, Emerging Stronger Conversations and the recently announced “A Singapore Made For Families 2025” plan. Through these platforms, we have heard from Singaporeans at different stages of their parenthood journey.
Useful insights were taken into consideration when formulating policies such as making pre-schools more affordable and encouraging employers to adopt flexible work arrangements.
We are also informed by findings from local research efforts such as the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes study, which has affirmed the importance of early intervention to improve maternal and child well-being as well as the critical role that fathers play in child-raising.
These findings have guided our support for families, such as KidStart and Families for Life’s parenting programmes, as well as the Made For Families campaign.
We understand that decisions to get married and have children are personal and depend on a wide range of factors. As Mr Tan wrote, intrinsic factors are just as important as specific policies and programmes. Therefore, a whole-of-society effort comprising employers, co-workers, community organisations and families is necessary to shape social norms.
The Care Pillar, as part of Forward SG, will partner Singaporeans on how we, as a society, can be more supportive towards families, and value family well-being. Together, we can foster a family-friendly culture in Singapore and build a Singapore made for families.
Senior Director, National Population and Talent Division
Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office