Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Babies in Singapore

From Channel News Asia 16th Aug

More babies born in H1 but Singapore still stuck in low fertility trap

More babies were born in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2005.

The Registration of Births and Deaths recorded 18,294 births in the first half of this year, some 300 more than the same period last year.

The Singapore economy is on an upswing and so are the birth numbers: 37,492 babies were born last year.

But in the first half of this year, more babies were delivered, compared to the same period last year.

Not only are there more first-borns, more parents are also having their second, third and fourth child.

But a population expert tells our reporter that this marginal increase is still not enough to lift Singapore out of its low fertility trap......

Here's the rest of the article

What ironic about this is during the 70s-80s, our gahment had extensive campaign of restricting 2 kids per family to prevent over population.

I remember my aunty was FINED for having her 3rd baby.

I also heard horror stories of Grumpy nurses and doctors scolding pregnant woman for coming in too early for delivery.

At the turn of the century, our Gahment realized that our population is ageing due to less babies being born every years. Is this due to the successful campaign?

Singapore had followed the trends of every “developed” national where birth rates are declining years after years.

Looking at the table , we only have about 9.34 babies born / 1000 population.

Therefore in recent years we’ve seen our gahment dramatically stepped up their encouragement campaign for couples to have more babies.

They were giving out baby bonus, increasing maternal leaves from 2 months to 3 months and airing pro-family advertisement during prime time.

But are they solving the root cause of falling birth rates? I don’t think so.

First let me analysis why birth rates are falling in Singapore.

Ask any of your young friends and the main reason they give are the cost of living is going up, stressful work environment and poor child care facitlitis.

Today it is not cheap to give birth. Note only the delivery are cost about $3,000, excluding those pre and pos delivery treatments.

If a young couple had a baby, who is going to look after him/her? In the seventies, my mum can afford to be a housewife and she took care of my sister and myself.

Today with the cost of living going up and with salaries increment slowing down, there is a dangerous exponential increase in the cost of living. Therefore both parents HAVE TO work in Singapore.

Working environment is still not family friendly. Not to forget there should be more benefit to be given to fathers as well.

My company use to have only “child-care-leaves” for general staffs and none for executive. Only last year did they extends the leaves to the executives.

I am glad that there is some improvement but I wonder which idiot came up with the separation in the first place. Does it meant that executive’s babies and less subject to sickness?

Until the infrastructure of,“Pro families Singapore” and the cost of living improved in Singapore, I doubt there is any way the gahment can increase the birth rates. In fact I think they had already give up and try to “import” foreign talenst.

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