Marriage and Parenthood Trends
Similar to many developed societies, Singapore’s resident Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has been declining over the past decades. It was 1.14 in 2019.
In the short-term, TFR can be affected by factors such as economic uncertainty and demographic trends such as the age of marriage and number of children that couples have. In the longer term, TFR trends are influenced by social norms and values, and attitudes toward marriage and parenthood. Economic development, and improvements in education and work opportunities for women also influence societal attitudes toward singlehood, marriage, and parenthood.
While the TFR has remained low, it is useful to also look at marriage and birth trends over longer time periods. On average, more citizens got married between 2015 and 2019, than the preceding five-year period (between 2010 and 2014, Chart 4).
Chart 4 – Citizen marriages, 2009 - 2019
On average, there were also more citizen babies born between 2015 and 2019, than the preceding five-year period (between 2010 and 2014, Chart 5).
Chart 5 – Citizen births, 2009 - 2019
Young Singaporeans have consistently expressed a strong desire to get married and have children. The 2016 Marriage and Parenthood (M&P) Survey showed that 83 per cent of single Millennials (aged 21-35) surveyed want to get married, and 92 per cent of married Millennials surveyed want to have at least two children.
Support for Marriage & Parenthood
Supporting Singaporeans in fulfilling their aspirations to get married and raise families is a national priority. Through close partnerships across Government agencies, and with community partners, employers, businesses and the broader society, a range of support is available to Singaporeans at every stage of their marriage and parenthood journey.
The Marriage & Parenthood Package provides comprehensive support to help couples start and raise their families. Key measures in the Package include:
- Schemes to help couples own their first home
- Baby Bonus scheme, comprising a Cash Gift and the Child Development Account
- Government-paid parental leave
- Subsidised infant and child care
- Subsidised healthcare for mothers and children, including free National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) vaccinations and developmental screenings at Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioner clinics and polyclinics
- MediSave Grant for Newborns
- Co-funding for Assisted Conception Procedure (ACP) treatments at public Assisted Reproduction (AR) centres
In recent years, more efforts have been made to increase the accessibility and affordability of preschool, housing, healthcare for children, and fertility treatments. To supplement the existing Marriage and Parenthood Package, and help reassure couples to proceed with their parenthood plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Baby Support Grant (BSG) was introduced in October 2020. Eligible Singaporean children born from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2022 will receive the BSG, a one-off $3,000 cash grant. With the BSG, couples will receive up to $21,000 in cash and cash-like benefits on the birth of their first child and up to $35,000 for their fifth and subsequent children.
More details on all the measures in the Package can be found at go.gov.sg/mpbooklet and madeforfamilies.gov.sg. Parents may also use the Family Support Calculator in the LifeSG app, which can be downloaded at life.gov.sg, to find out how much benefits they can receive.
With more companies adopting flexible work arrangements, parents may find it easier to better manage their work and family responsibilities. Employers and co-workers are also showing more support towards cultivating family-friendly workplaces. These are positive developments that we are encouraging though efforts such as the Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements, and Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, established in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
To further improve work-life harmony in Singapore, the Citizens’ Panel on Work-Life Harmony, comprising Singaporeans from various walks of life, was convened in 2019. Initiatives recommended by the panel to promote FWAs, improve HR practices and social norms are now being implemented. Details can be found here.
The Made For Families initiative was launched in June 2020 to further assure families of support from the Government and the broader society, and to encourage more businesses and community groups to play a part in building a family-friendly ecosystem. Organisations can submit their request to adopt the Made for Families brand mark here, to identify themselves as entities promoting the value of family in our society.