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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

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Eye-popping population numbers

I am going to be a bit sour here about the White Paper on Population….

Anyone who has worked in the media or with the media will know that the right way to introduce stuff is to give the big picture, paint several scenarios, outline the problems and then propose solutions. Instead, the G went ahead to announce the Transport Masterplan and the Marriage and Parenthood package. Okay, it’s the prerogative of the G to announce whatever it wants whenever it wants. And if it decides that announcing them during a BE campaign will help its cause, well…it didn’t.

But I wish I had read the full works on population before having to read about what parents will get for having an extra baby. That’s because I happen to one of those who won’t get a single baby perk and will have to contribute my tax dollars to the pro-family policies. Painting the bigger picture, with future PR and future new citizen numbers thrown in, would have given the population a better idea of why we need to spend $2 billion a year on the package to achieve a fertility rate of 1.6. You see the full picture, not just the perks. But I guess during an election, the perks count. Or didn’t.

Frankly, now that the cart has been put before the horse, I wonder how the media will go about reporting the White Paper. I suppose the focus will be on the numbers. I actually had some difficulty pulling them together because there was a mix of citizens, new citizens, PRs, resident population, non-resident population in both absolute numbers and proportions.

These are the key pars:

Singapore’s total population of residents and non-residents in 2020 is projected to be between 5.8 and 6 million, depending on our fertility trends, life expectancy, as well as our social and economic needs. The resident population (comprising citizens and PRs) is projected to be 4 to 4.1 million, of which citizens alone will make up 3.5 to 3.6 million.
By 2030, Singapore’s total population could range between 6.5 and 6.9 million. There is a wider band of uncertainty, and the actual population will again depend on factors such as our fertility trends and life expectancy, the global and regional environment, our economic structure and social needs. The resident population (comprising citizens and PRs) is projected to be 4.2 to 4.4 million, of which citizens alone will make up 3.6 to 3.8 million.

This par below is only on the immigration part that contributes to stats above:

To stop our citizen population from shrinking and sustain the citizen population with a stable age distribution, we will take in between 15,000 and 25,000 new citizens each year. The citizen population could be between 3.5 and 3.6 million in 2020, and between 3.6 and 3.8 million in 2030. We will grant about 30,000 PRs each year, in order to maintain the PR population at between 0.5 and 0.6 million for a stream of good quality candidates for citizenship;

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I figured that what we want to know is just how many people are we intending to squeeze onto this little red dot. And who they might be. I came up with this from the mass of statistics.

Today, we have 5.31 million people, comprising 3.29m citizens, 0.53m PRs and 1.49m foreigners who live here.
(not counting PRs, citizens are still number more than twice as many for foreigners here)
In 2020, we will have 5.8 to 6 million people, comprising 3.5 to 3.6m citizens, 0.5 to 0.6m PRs and 1.8 to 1.9m foreigners who live here
In 2030, we will have 6.5 to 6.9m people, comprising 3.6 to 3.8m citizens, 0.5 to 0.6m PRs and 2.3 to 2.5m foreigners who live here.
(This time, citizens will be about 1.5times or so more than foreigners)

How come the White Paper didn’t just chart it like this??

Of course, everything may change depending on fertility rate, economic growth etc etc. That huge figure of 2.3 to 2.5m foreigners? It’s because our workforce growth will slow. But hey, apparently by then, most Singaporeans ( a Singapore core that will get smaller over the years) will belong to the PMET category.

Funny thing is, we not reclaiming more land?
Also, if Singapore (god forbid!) gets attacked in 2030, who or what are we defending? What sort of home will we be defending with so many foreigners in our midst?

Written By

An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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