Singapore’s population falls 4.1% to 5.45 million amid COVID curbs

·Editorial Team
·2-min read
People walk out during lunch break at the Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on September 14, 2021. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
People at Raffles Place on 14 September 2021. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Singapore’s total population fell 4.1 per cent to 5.45 million as of June, due mainly to the fall in the non-resident population amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The citizen population decreased by 0.7 per cent to 3.5 million as of June 22 from a year earlier, said the National Population and Talent Division (NTPD) in its annual Population in Brief report. The permanent resident (PR) population fell by 6.2 per cent to 0.49 million as of June. It was the first fall in the resident population since the start of official population data collection in 1970.

The fall in the two categories was mainly because more citizens and PRs remained overseas for 12 straight months or more due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and were not counted as part of the population as such.

The non-resident population decreased by 10.7 per cent to 1.47 million as of June mainly due to a drop in foreign employment in Singapore arising from travel restrictions and uncertain economic conditions. The decrease was seen across all pass types, with the largest drop in work permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard, and process sectors.

In 2020, 21,085 individuals became citizens and 27,470 individuals were granted PR. About six per cent of the new SCs, or 1,344 of them, were children born overseas to Singaporean parents.

Singapore grants between 15,000 and 25,000 new citizenships annually. Since the tightening of the immigration framework in late 2009, Singapore has accepted about 30,000 new PRs a year.

There were 19,430 citizen marriages last year, 12.3 per cent fewer than the 22,165 citizen marriages in 2019. “COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings could have led couples to defer their marriages,” NTPD said.

In 20202, citizen births fell to 31,816 from 32,844 in 2019. Over 2016 to 2020, there were about 32,500 citizen births on average each year, slightly more than the average of 32,400 each year in 2011 to 2015.

The resident total fertility rate remained below replacement rate, dropping from 1.14 in 2019 to 1.10 in 2020, partly due to a general trend of later marriages and child-bearing.

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