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Population Policies and Programmes in Singapore

Saw Swee-Hock

Publication Year: 2005

Population Policies and Programmes in Singapore presents a comprehensive account of the government’s initiatives to influence the course of fertility, and hence the rate of population growth, in the island state of Singapore since the 1950s. The book may be viewed as a case study of the public policy of a country in the area of population with regard to fertility and population growth. The fundamental population issue of low below-replacement fertility, coupled with its adverse consequences, is discussed. More specifically, the book is a convenient source of detailed information on all the existing pronatalist incentives, financial or otherwise.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

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Contents, List of Tables, List of Figures, Preface

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pp. v-xvi

Population Policies and Programmes in Singapore is a vastly expanded version of my earlier book published some twenty-five years ago by Oxford University Press under the old title of Population Control for Zero Growth in Singapore. This revised edition of the book has been divided into two distinct sections — Part One: Antinatalist Period and Part Two: Pronatalist Period. The former deals with the period when the main...

Part One: Antinatalist Period

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pp. 1

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1. Background

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pp. 3-6

The Republic of Singapore comprises the main island of Singapore and some 54 small islets within its territorial waters and jurisdiction. The country has a total land area of only 697.1 square kilometres, 550 of which are taken up by the diamond-shaped main island which is 41.8 kilometres in length and 22.5 kilometres in breadth. Singapore is situated at the southern extremity of Peninsular Malaysia to which it is linked by...

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2. A Private Programme

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pp. 7-23

Birth control as a means of spacing children and limiting family size has long been practised by couples in Singapore on an individual basis, with sometimes the advice of doctors and friends and the use of family planning literature. However, this practice was confined only to a small group of persons belonging mainly to the more educated and wealthier...

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3. The Government Programme

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pp. 24-41

It was noted in the preceding chapter that since 1957 the Family Planning Association had on numerous occasions requested the Ministry of Health to take over all the family planning activities it conducted in government institutions, but the government had consistently turned down the request. It was in response to the request submitted by the...

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4. Induced Abortion

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pp. 42-61

Until 1970 the performance of abortion in Singapore, like many other members of the British Commonwealth, was governed by laws based on legislation passed in the nineteenth century in Victorian England. It constituted a criminal act punishable under sections 312–316 of the Penal Code and could only be defended on the plea that the abortion was...

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5. Voluntary Sterilization

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pp. 62-78

Sterilization in the family planning context involves an operation upon the reproductive organs of a man or woman with a view to terminating permanently his or her capacity to produce a child. Female sterilization or tubal ligation of women for medical reasons has been performed in Singapore since the early post-war years though on a very limited scale...

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6. Incentives and Disincentives

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pp. 79-92

In providing every possible support, financial or otherwise, to the Family Planning Association in its attempt to assist women to plan their births and avoid having unwanted babies and to check the rapid rate of population increase in the early 1960s, the PAP Government was aware of the conflicting nature of some government policies with respect to the...

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7. Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice

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pp. 93-112

In this chapter the knowledge, attitudes, and practice of married women in respect of family planning, abortion, sterilization, and government population policies will be examined. The source of data for this study is the First National Survey on Family Planning conducted in 1973 on a sample basis. By means of a two-stage stratified sample design, a slightly less than 1 per cent sample of 2,167 married women aged...

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8. Rapid Fertility Decline

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pp. 113-141

Having examined at great length the nature of the population control programme with its various components introduced at different times in response to prevailing demographic trends and economic conditions, we will now proceed to investigate the levels and trends in fertility during the post-war period up to 1977, paying particular attention to the more interesting developments that have taken place in the seventies. In this...

Part Two: Pronatalist Period

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pp. 143

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9. Uplifting Fertility of Better-Educated Women

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pp. 145-158

After the attainment of replacement fertility in 1975, no changes to the national population control programme were made until the mid-eighties when measures designed to encourage the better-educated women to produce more babies and the lesser-educated to bear fewer babies were introduced. These measures were meant to influence the quality rather than the quantity of the future population to ensure an adequate supply...

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10. Relaxing Old Antinatalist Policies

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pp. 159-170

It may be recalled that the population control programme was implemented in the mid-sixties. Its specific objective was to lower the level of fertility so as to reduce the rate of population growth. This was part of the national development strategy to raise the standard of living of the people. As it became increasingly obvious that this objective...

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11. Introducing Limited Pronatalist Policies

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pp. 171-180

While the previous chapter presents an account of the changes relating to the partial reversal of the old antinatalist policies introduced during the years 1987–2000, this chapter focuses on limited pronatalist measures implemented during the same period. Apart from recommending the loosening of some of the old antinatalist policies, the Inter-Ministerial...

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12. Strengthening Old Pronatalist Incentives

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pp. 181-194

We have observed that on the basis of the recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Population Committee, the government implemented a wide range of incentive measures in 1987 aimed at encouraging women to produce more children. This was subsequently followed by a few pronatalist measures announced by the Prime Minister in the National Day Rally held in August 2000. The effectiveness of all the measures has...

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13. Introducing New Pronatalist Incentives

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pp. 195-205

The package of pronatalist incentives implemented soon after the National Day Rally held in August 2004 can be separated into two broad groups. As noted in the previous chapter, the first group consists of incentives designed to implement some changes to the measures introduced in the past so as to make them stronger and more effective. The second group contains entirely new measures that were quite essential for preventing...

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14. Prolonged Below-Replacement Fertility

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pp. 206-218

This chapter examines the salient features of fertility movement below the level of replacement during a span of some thirty years since 1975. In studying this long-term trend we should bear in mind three broad groups of factors that can affect the level of fertility in Singapore. Firstly, there are the important social and economic factors that will always continue to assert a strong influence on the level of fertility. ...

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15. Future Population Trends

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pp. 219-242

An examination of the most plausible course of population trends in the future and the social and economic consequences of such trends are presented in this chapter. To do this, population projections need to be prepared on the basis of certain assumptions concerning the future course of migration, mortality and fertility, the three factors determining the rate of increase or decline in any population. In Singapore the future...

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App A. Talent for the Future

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pp. 243-250

Our performance for the first half of 1983 has been more than fair with 5 per cent growth. If the American recovery continues, we may achieve real growth for 1983 of 6 to 7 per cent. However, several sectors have suffered: Manufacturing down 8 per cent; external trade down 2 per cent; cargo handled down 1 per cent; tourism down 2 per cent. We made up by boosting construction up 31 per cent, and banking...

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App B. When Couples Have Fewer Than Two

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pp. 251-254

Our long-term demographic goal is to stabilize the population at a certain number sometime in the first half of the 21st century. To attain this goal, two conditions must be fulfilled. The first is that we must reduce our fertility to the replacement level, or the two-child family level; the other is to maintain it at this level indefinitely. The first condition was accomplished in 1975 when our fertility was reduced to the two-child family level. But we were not able to realize the...

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App C. Who Is Having Too Few Babies?

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pp. 255-262

In an earlier article (“When couples have fewer than two”, The Sunday Times, June 15) I discussed the impact of fertility trends in Singapore on the future size of our population. Singapore women, as a whole, have been having too few babies to keep our population from declining in the future. But there are differences in birth patterns among women from the different ethnic and educational...

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App D. The Second Long March

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pp. 263-275

The title of my talk today is The Second Long March. It is inspired by the Long March of the Chinese communists in 1935. The Long March began in October 1934 at the south-eastern corner of China, and ended one year later, in another corner in the north-west, a distance of about 10,000 kilometres. The communists, led by Mao Zedong, trekked over endless expanses...

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App E. Babies

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pp. 276-283

I have one last subject. It’s very late, but I think I will talk about it all the same and this is babies. It’s a very serious problem for us and for all the developed countries. Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Europe. Even the Catholic countries in Europe, Italy has a very low fertility rate, Spain too. The only exception is America where immigration is very high and somehow, the culture is completely different. It’s a national problem for...


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pp. 285-293


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pp. 295-303

E-ISBN-13: 9789812305480
Print-ISBN-13: 9789812303196

Page Count: 303
Publication Year: 2005

Edition: 1