More women in Singapore staying single across all age groups

For Singapore's population to replace itself without immigration, women need to have an average of 2.1 babies. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - More Singaporean women across all age groups are staying single compared to a decade ago, according to population figures released on Thursday (Sept 27).

The increase was most noticeable among women aged 25 to 29, where the proportion of singles went up from about 60.9 per cent in 2007 to 68.1 per cent last year - a 7.2 percentage point difference.

More older women remained unmarried as well. The proportion of singles among those aged 30 to 34 went up 3.9 percentage points to 32.8 per cent, while those aged 40 to 44 increased by 3.8 percentage points to 18.1 per cent.

Among men, a higher proportion among those aged 25 to 29 were staying single - from 77.5 per cent a decade ago to 80.7 per cent last year.

For those aged 35 to 49, the proportion rose slightly, between 0.2 and 1.9 percentage points. Only the proportion for those aged 30 to 34 dipped marginally, down 0.3 percentage points to 40.5 per cent last year.

These figures from the annual Population in Brief report on Thursday come as Singapore's total fertility rate hit a seven-year low while its population continues to age.

The resident total fertility rate fell from 1.20 in 2016 to 1.16 last year. For the population to replace itself without immigration, women need to have an average of 2.1 babies.

The Prime Minister's Office's Strategy Group, which released the report, attributed the drop partly to a larger cohort of young Singaporeans, aged 19 to 29 last year, entering peak childbearing ages, but have not yet had children.

With increasing life expectancy and lower fertility rates, the proportion of the citizen population aged 65 years and older is rising, and at a faster rate compared to a decade ago.

Between 2017 and 2018, the proportion of elderly citizens increased from 14.4 per cent to 15.2 per cent. In 2007, this proportion was 9. 4 per cent.

The median age of citizens also rose from 41.3 last year to 41.7 this year.

Meanwhile, citizen births remained stable.

It fell in 2017 by 2.4 per cent to 32,356, but the figure is still higher than the average of 32,200 in the past 10 years.

There were 24,417 marriages involving citizens last year, 2.3 per cent more than the year before. This was higher than the average of the past decade of about 22,500 citizen marriages.

Overall, Singapore's total population stands at 5.64 million as of June this year, a slight increase of 0.5 per cent due to stable growth in the citizen population.

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