Housing Increase Highlights Singapore\'s Declining Fertility
The number of households in Singapore grew nearly twice as fast as the population over the past decade, according to census data released Wednesday, as career-minded Singaporeans reject raising a family.
Despite pleas and incentives by the government to encourage marriage and family life, small households were becoming more prevalent.
One-person households increased from 5.2 percent to 8.2 percent between 1990 and 2000, highlighting the social cost of Singapore's rapid transformation from tropical backwater to economic powerhouse.
The city-state's fertility rate has dropped below 1.5 children per woman, well down on the 2.15 deemed necessary for a population to replace itself, with surveys consistently showing young Singaporeans putting career and wealth ahead of family
Of the 75,000 people living alone in the latest census, 12 percent were university graduates, up from 8.2 percent in 1990, while 36.3 percent had secondary or post-secondary qualifications, up from 27.7 percent.
The overall number of households increased 3.4 percent a year between 1990 and 2000, compared to a population growth rate of 1.8 percent.
"The faster household growth was due to the combined effects of declining fertility and the continued prevalence of one-family nucleus households," the census department said in a statement.
The average household size in Singapore in 2000 was 3.7 people, down from 4.2 people 10 years ago.
Home ownership has become almost universal with 92 percent of households owning their homes, compared to 88 percent in 1990.
"Reflecting the rising affluence of households, 68 percent of residents housholds were living in four-room or larger (government) flats or private housing, up from 52 percent in 1990," the statement said -- SINGAPORE (AFP)
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