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Singapore Hoping for a Baby Boom


on 2001/4/26 9:47:02 ( 1126 reads )


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SINGAPORE, APRIL 15,2001: The tiny city-state of Singapore, with a scant four million population, is encouraging its citizens to have more babies. Concerned with its declining birthrate, the government has developed monetary and workplace incentives to persuade people to have larger families. The government is offering cash for couples who have a second and third child, extended maternity and paternity leave, flexible working hours and sometimes, special deals on apartment rentals. Like other nations with rising living standards, most Singaporeans have been choosing to have smaller families. The birthrate has fallen to 1.5 children per woman of childbearing age where 2.5 is needed to maintain the population level. Even this figure masks the true situation, which is that poor Muslim Malays are having three or four children per family, while the educated Chinese and Indians are having just one. That would explain why, although the new baby-boom incentives do not discriminate on the basis of education, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, recently stated, "Our educated people should have three children per family." Singapore at least is still increasing in population, at just 1.15% per year, whereas Russia, Italy and several other countries are dropping each year. Germany has reached zero population growth.




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