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4-2 QA

4-2 QA

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Published by: api-3748487 on Oct 15, 2008
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Book 4-2
1.Why was a rapidly rising population a problem for Singapore in the 1950s
and 60s?
a.Singapore\u2019s postwar baby boom led to a sudden population
explosion, putting pressure on land, housing, employment,
healthcare and education.
i. Between 1950 and 1960, the population grew by over 50% to
about 1.64 million in size.

ii. With a belief of better days ahead, families mushroomed in size partly because of the cultural belief of having big families as wealth and guarantee for old age e.g. average 6 to 7 children per family

iii. This led to a serious housing shortage as the SIT could not meet
the population demand.
iv. Even with the HDB set up, if population growth did not slow down,

it would not have been able to meet demand.
v. Squatters and slums were prevalent (refer to 4-3).
vi. Hazards such as fire and disease were rampant (common).

vii. Healthcare facilities and education were still very basic and small
in numbers (refer to 4-1).
viii. The lack of large scale industrial development and a falling
entrepot meant employment opportunities were limited.

ix. As a new nation and government, it was very difficult to solve all the problems above. Therefore there was a need to control Singapore\u2019s population growth.

2.How did Singapore control the population crisis?
a. In order to slow down the annual birth rate, the government set up the
Singapore Family Planning and Population Board in 1966.
i.The plans to reduce fertility aimed at:.

1. Stressing the need for small families and its advantages to young couples/parents. This suggested that smaller families were more affordable

2. Promoting the idea that 2 is enough regardless of the child\u2019s sex. This was important because it helped counter the problem caused by wanting male babies to carry on the family name

3. keeping Singapore\u2019s fertility rate at 2.1 per women so that
there would be sufficient children to replace the population
ii.In order to do this, the government introduced various
measures to slow down population growth.
iii. The first was to legalized abortions for women and encouraging
the use of contraceptives.
iv. Campaigns using posters, pamphlets and television also stressed
the attractiveness of having no more than 2 children per family.
v. The government also took measures to dissuaded people from
having big families.

vi. For example, women would not be given maternity leave for the 3rd or subsequent child born, effectively making it less affordable for working mothers to have more than 2 kids.

vii. The government also gave no income tax relief for the 4th and subsequent child, and increased the delivery charges in government hospitals for each additional child. This effectively made it more expensive for families to have more children.


viii. It also gave no priority to large families in the queue for HDB flats in a move to dissuade couples from having large families. The typical queue time for a HDB flat was about 3-5 years.

ix. The measures seemed to work as by 1975, the birthrate had fallen
to the target of 2.1 children per woman.
3.In what way was the government responsible for the declining birthrate in
a.Based on numbers, the population control measures since the 1960s
seemed to have worked well, perhaps too well.

i. In 1960, a woman was expected to have 5.76 children. By 1970, that number had dropped to 3.07. But by 1980, it was now 1.82. The numbers continued to fall and by 2000, it was only 1.59 children per woman.

ii. This would suggest that the disincentives laid out by the government and their campaign to promote a small family has obviously changed mindsets enough to reduce the birthrate.

b.But the government alone wasn\u2019t the main reason for the drastic
drop in numbers. Marriage was getting delayed.
i. With more education, Singaporeans were delaying their plans for

ii. For instance, women now had more opportunities in employment compared to women in the 1960s. This meant that women would prefer the satisfaction of employment versus the vocation of a homemaker.

iii. The average age of a bride was 22 in 1960. By 2000, the average
was closer to age 27.
iv. Later marriages which would affect fertility as age tends to reduce
the number of babies women would have.
c. Expectations of family size had also changed.
i. Younger couples valued their time without kids and delayed having
children until they were ready.
ii. They preferred the time and financial freedom of having no
children as they pursued a more material rich lifestyle.
iii. Even then, they would prefer to have smaller families e.g. 1 -2 kids
so that they can give their children a better quality of life
iv. Therefore, families sizes also got smaller.
d.Many Singaporeans were remaining unmarried.
i. There was also a disturbing trend of more Singaporeans remaining

ii. For instance from 1980 to 1989, single women aged 35-39 increased from 8.5% to 12%. Similarly, single men figures increased from 10.1% to 15.1%.

iii. With more unmarried people, it also resulted in fewer babies born.
4. Why is falling birthrates a problem for Singapore?
a.Shortage of manpower, talents, soldiers and an ageing population.
i. With a falling birthrate, Singapore\u2019s labour shortage would worsen.

ii. This would result in a lack of young, cheaper and creative workers to sustain Singapore\u2019s economic development and could even force investors to leave Singapore for other countries.

iii. Lesser young people might also mean a shrinking talent pool required to drive the economy as well as form the leadership in government. This would affect Singapore\u2019s ability to continue good governance as well.


iv. Moreover, Singapore would suffer from fewer young men serving national service to defend Singapore. This might weaken our defence against potential aggressors.

v. For instance, the number of young men entering NS fell from 22
000 in 1980 to 17 000 in 1985.

vi. Ultimately, a falling birthrate would result in an ageing population which might put a strain on the country\u2019s resources in taking care of them.

vii. With fewer youthful workers taking care of a bigger group of elderly workers or retirees, the burden on the younger workers and the government would also be greater.

viii. More and more resources would have to be diverted to elderly care in healthcare and other social services, but with less and less contributors.

ix. Thus it is very important that more babies are born to replace the present Singaporean population if we are to maintain our present development.

5. How did Singapore try to boost population growth and was it effective?
a.Since 1987, the government has tried to reverse the trend by
providing incentives to have more children (internal).
i. The official campaign now was have 3 or more children if you can
afford them.
ii. Previous disincentives were reversed to help Singaporeans have
more children.
iii. For instance, the HDB gave priority to families with 3 or more
children in buying bigger flats.

iv. It also allowed the use of medisave in hospitalization and delivery charges for the 1st 3 children, making it more affordable for couples to have more kids.

v. Income tax relief was also given to the main breadwinner for up to 4 children, thereby freeing more money for families to take care of children.

vi. And a monthly subsidy was given to working mothers for each child up to the forth child attending approved childcare centres. This helps defray the cost of childcare for parents.

b.But these measures had limited impact.

i. In 1988 the number of children per woman went up from 1.49 in 1986 to 1.96 in 1988. However, this was due to the Year of the Dragon, an auspicious year for the Chinese in having babies.

ii. By 2000, the number had fallen back to 1.59.
iii. That figure had fallen to about 1.2 by 2005.
iv. Many were unconvinced of the need to have children as life style
considerations probably outweighed the desire for babies.
v. Even then, couples preferred having 1-2 kids.
vi. The number of later marriages and unmarried singles continued to
climb. Both of which contributed to the low birthrate.

vii. One possible reason was that couples and the younger generation were looking at more family friendly practices, such as childcare leave for both the father and mother, more understanding with less damage to careers at the workplace especially to women, extended maternity leave periods for mothers, and more infant care facilities instead of relying on extended families e.g. grandparents to take care of children.


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