Marriage and Parenthood Trends
Similar to many advanced societies, Singapore’s resident Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has been declining over the past decades. It was 1.04 in 2022. Our low TFR is largely due to the rising proportion of singles, later marriages, and married couples having fewer children. In the short term, birth rates can fluctuate due to external factors like economic uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic. In the longer term, demographic trends, progress and development in education, changing employment landscape, and societal values and attitudes towards marriage and family can also impact TFR. Ultimately, getting married and having children are personal decisions, influenced by changing social norms, personal priorities, and economic sentiments.
Young Singaporeans have consistently expressed a strong desire to get married and have children. From our 2021 Marriage & Parenthood survey, 8 in 10 young singles aspire to get married and have children, and over 9 in 10 married Singaporeans want at least 2 children. These sentiments have held firm since our surveys in 2012 and 2016.
Support for Marriage & Parenthood
Supporting Singaporeans to fulfil their aspirations to marry and have children continues to be our 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:
- Priority housing schemes and grants to help couples own their first home
- Healthcare schemes to defray the costs of assisted conception, maternity and newborn care
- Financial support through the Baby Bonus scheme, comprising a Cash Gift and Government co-matching contributions to the Child Development Account
- MediSave Grant for Newborns to defray children’s healthcare expenses
- Government-Paid Parental Leave schemes including Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, and Childcare Leave
- Subsidised infant care and childcare services
As announced at Budget 2023, the Government has increased support for parents during their children’s early years, by enhancing the Baby Bonus Cash Gift and Child Development Account contributions. We will also double Government-Paid Paternity Leave to four weeks and Unpaid Infant Care Leave to 12 days per year, starting from 1 January 2024.
In addition, measures are in place to help parents manage their work and family commitments. These include the Tripartite Standards on Work-Life Harmony, Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, and Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) established in 2021, 2018 and 2017 respectively. We are also currently working with tripartite partners to strengthen provisions on FWAs by introducing a new set of Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs by 2024, which will require employers to consider FWA requests from employees fairly and properly.
More details on all the support measures can be found at go.gov.sg/mpbooklet and madeforfamilies.gov.sg. Parents may also use the Family Support Calculator in the LifeSG app, to find out how much benefits they can receive.
Beyond these, we must all do our part to ensure that Singapore is a great place to start and raise families. 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 environment. 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.