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 1.12 in 2021. 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 play a bigger part. 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 get married and raise families 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:
- Schemes and grants to help couples own their first home
- Schemes to defray 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
- Government-paid parental leave schemes
- Subsidised infant care and childcare services
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.
For parents to better manage their work and family responsibilities, we are working to cultivate more family-friendly workplaces. This is encouraged through ongoing efforts such as 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. The Government will strengthen provisions on FWAs by introducing a new set of Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs by 2024. The Guidelines will require employers to consider FWA requests from employees fairly and properly.
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 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.