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Singapore gov't to review population strategy

(Xinhua)

15:32, March 02, 2012

SINGAPORE, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The Singapore government is taking a comprehensive look at its population policies in view of changing demographics, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Thursday.

The National Population and Talent Division will release a White Paper by the end of the year, setting out the issues important to Singaporeans and strategies for a sustainable population.

The division will consult various stakeholders over the course of the year.

The most critical long term issue is to "develop a sustainable population strategy that will maintain the vitality of Singapore, strengthen our harmonious multi-ethnic society, and enable Singaporeans to achieve their life aspirations," he said.

Teo said the year 2012 is a "demographic turning point" for Singapore as the first first cohort of post-war baby boomers born between 1947 and 1965 will start turning 65 from this year.

From now till 2030, Singapore will experience an unprecedented age shift, as over 900,000 baby boomers, or more than a quarter of the current citizen population, retire from the workforce.

By 2030, more than 1 in 4 citizens will be aged 65 and above if the current birth rates is maintained without immigration. The median age of Singapore citizens will rise to 47 from the current 39.

Singapore has a record low fertility rate of 1.15 in 2010, followed by a slight rebound to 1.2 last year. However, political leaders and observers have said that the trend is still not for it to rebound to anywhere near the replacement level of 2.1 in the foreseeable future.

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