Population growth slowed, higher proportion of singles in Singapore: census

·Editorial Team
·3-min read
Singapore's total population stood at 5.69 million in 2020, up from 5.08 million in 2010, according to the Department of Statistics. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Singapore's total population stood at 5.69 million in 2020, up from 5.08 million in 2010, according to the Department of Statistics. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Between 2010 and 2020, Singapore's total population grew by 1.1 per cent a year, the lowest decade of growth since the country's independence.

This data was among the key trends noted by the Department of Statistics (DOS) in its first of two statistical publications based on its Census 2020 findings released on Wednesday (16 June). 

Singapore's total population stood at 5.69 million in 2020, up from 5.08 million in 2010, according to the DOS. The country's citizen population rose from 3.23 million to 3.52 million over the same period, while the permanent resident population remained stable at around 0.5 million.

Ethnic composition of the resident population was relatively unchanged with Chinese making up 74.3 per cent, Malays accounting for 13.5 per cent, and Indians comprising 9 per cent.

(Infographic: Department of Statistics)
(Infographic: Department of Statistics)

More singles, fewer children

The DOS report also noted that the proportion of singles across the age groups had risen, with the greatest increase seen among those aged 25 to 34.

For those aged 25-29, the proportion of single males rose from 74.6 per cent to 81.6 per cent, while the proportion of single females increased from 54 per cent to 69 per cent. In the 30-34 age group, the proportion of single males rose from 37.1 per cent to 41.9 per cent, while the proportion of single females increased from 25.1 per cent to 32.8 per cent.

The report also noted that women had fewer children compared with a decade ago. In the category of resident women aged 40 to 49 who have ever been married, the average number of children decreased from 2.02 in 2010 to 1.76 in 2020.

Women with higher levels of education also had fewer children on average compared with those with lower educational qualifications. Among the resident women aged 40-49 who have ever been married, university graduates had an average of 1.66 children in 2020, compared with the average of 1.94 children among those with secondary qualifications.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Department of Statistics)
(INFOGRAPHIC: Department of Statistics)

Significant progress in women's education

Overall, the education profile of the Singapore's resident population also improved, with 58.3 per cent of those aged 25 and older in 2020 having attained post-secondary or higher qualifications – an increase from 46.5 per cent in 2010.

Improvements in educational attainment were seen across the Chinese, Malay and Indian communities.

The DOS report noted that women have made "more significant progress" in education. For instance, among residents aged 55 and above in 2020, the proportion with post-secondary or higher qualifications was 34 per cent for men and 22.8 per cent for women – an 11.2 percentage point difference. Within the 25 to 34 age band, the proportion of women with such qualifications was 90.2 per cent, marginally higher than their male counterparts at 90 per cent.

Singapore's literacy rate also remained high at 97.1 per cent in 2020, while multi-language literacy was 90.3 per cent among literate residents aged 15 to 24. 

English has become the most frequently spoken language at home for 48.3 per cent of residents aged five and above in 2020, an increase from 32.3 per cent in 2010. Among this group, over 80 per cent also spoke a vernacular language at home, said the report.

The DOS report is aimed at providing broad trends and changes relating to the demographic characteristics, marriage and fertility, education, literacy, home language and religion of Singapore's resident population – referring to citizens and permanent residents – between 2010 and 2020. The census data was collated from 150,000 households.

More findings from Census 2020 will be shared on Friday.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Department of Statistics)
(INFOGRAPHIC: Department of Statistics)

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