Low birthrate is a major problem for Singapore. Its present population is around 5.7 million, and it wants to bolster that. It has been trying to arrive at a workable solution, and the search continues. It is a sensitive issue and cannot be forced upon those not willing to become parents. The youth of today attach less importance to parenthood and more on building their careers. A scheme is already available to extend a financial incentive of $6,000 for each child. Singapore wants to improve upon that. The country proposes to give an additional incentive in the form of a one-time payment. The authorities wish to couples to "have more babies" during the pandemic.

The New York Times quotes Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat saying - "We have received feedback that Covid-19 has caused some aspiring parents to postpone their parenthood plans. This is fully understandable, especially when they face uncertainty with their income."

Singapore has to improve its birthrate

New York Times says Singapore's government has gone in for different methods to convince the youth that they should realize the need to produce children. These included speed dating and other matchmaking services. However, these failed to impact the youth significantly and turned out to be futile attempts to encourage procreation. The city-state's fertility rate has been going downhill over the past four decades.

It has gone down from 1.82 to 1.14 births per woman. Of course, there have been occasional spikes. These coincided with a special festival called the lunar Year of the Dragon. This is a once-in-12-year event and believed to be auspicious. Incidentally, in 2017, the birthrate of Singapore was 8.6 per 1,000 people.

Its global ranking was 214th. There were 12 countries lower than Singapore, and three of them were in Asia. These were Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

New York Times adds that Singapore had met with initial success on the coronavirus front. However, it has risen in April and attributed to an outbreak among migrant workers.

The country reported very few deaths and infection right from day one. The figures are 27 deaths and at least 57,000 infections. It included around 104 new cases over the past week. Singapore was the venue of a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to discuss the Korean peninsula's denuclearization.

Good news for aspiring parents in Singapore

According to CNN, Singapore wants young couples to help in a nation-building exercise by producing babies. Those who succeed would get the benefit of a one-time payment during the coronavirus pandemic. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat told lawmakers on Monday about the situation related to the youth rejecting plans of becoming parents.

He explained that the incentive intended to reassure the people. They are trying to overcome financial pressure in the unpredictable job market and want assurance. However, he has not disclosed the amount the government proposes to pay as a one-time incentive.

The challenges for Singapore

CNN adds that Singapore's public health department has successfully handled the pandemic, but its economy is in trouble. The country has one of the lowest birth rates globally, and efforts to reverse the trend since the 1980s have failed. Its national statistics body points out that the fertility rate is now 1.14 births per woman. This figure should be 2.1 babies on an average for a country to repopulate itself.

Low fertility and an aging population are some of the country's major problems. Singapore is facing an education challenge centered on seniors because of the aging population. The authorities are contemplating a series of educational reforms to cater to this group of people.

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