Thursday, April 22, 2010

Population of Singapore

Despite lacking natural resources, the densely populated island state of Singapore rose to the status of “first-world” thanks to the sheer hard work, adaptability and resilience of its population. Originally inhabited by Malay fishermen, Singapore's shores brought immigrants from China, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and other parts of the world post-British arrival.

Malay is one of the four official languages of Singapore.The country's national anthem is sung in Malay. However, English is the language of business and administration and is widely spoken and understood. Most Singaporeans are bilingual and speak both their mother tongue as well as English fluently.
Before independence, two factors determined Singapore's population: integrative effect of migration and natural increase. But after 1965, the government of Singapore under Prime Minister Lee Yuan Kew imposed strict controls on immigration, granting only temporary residence permits to workers whose labor or skills were considered beneficial to the economy.

According to government statistics for the year 2008, the population of Singapore is 4.8 million including expatriates and the rate of employment is 2.6 percent. The dominant ethnic groups are the Chinese (76.7%), Malays (14%) and Indians (7.9%). Others (Eurasians, Arabs, Jews) comprise 1.4% of the population. Literacy rate of Singapore stands at 95%.
Since independence, the Singapore government has implemented effective population control policies through publicity, exhortation, material incentives and disincentives. The Family Planning and Population Board set up in 1966 played a major role in population control as it provided clinical services and public education on family planning. Throughout the 1970s, Singapore experienced low-birth rates and this, in turn, resulted in increase of income, education, women's participation in paid employment and control of diseases. By the 80s, the government became concerned about the low rate of population growth and revamped its family planning programme by offering new package of incentives.

Migration to Singapore dwindled during the Great Depression of the 1930s, ceased during the war years of 1941 to 1945, and resumed on a minor scale in the decade between 1945 and 1955. Most nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century immigrants came from China, India, or Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula. Between 1945 and 1965 immigrants came primarily from peninsular Malaya, which shared British colonial status with Singapore and so permitted the free movement of people between Singapore and the rural areas and small cities of the peninsula. After independence in 1965, Singapore's government imposed strict controls on immigration, granting temporary residence permits only to those whose labor or skills were considered essential to the economy. Most such workers were expected to return to their homelands when their contracts expired or economic downturns made their labor redundant. Illegal immigrants and Singaporeans who employed them were subject to fines or imprisonment. The immigrants of the 1980s fell into two distinct categories. The first category, unskilled labor for factories and service positions, was composed largely of young unmarried people from Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and India. Regulations prohibited their marrying without prior official permission and required women to be tested for pregnancy every six months--measures intended to make it difficult for them to attain Singaporean residence or citizenship by becoming the spouse or parent of a citizen. The second category comprised skilled workers, professionals, and managers, often working for multinational corporations. They came from Japan, Western Europe, North America, and Australia. Predominately middle-aged and often accompanied by their families, they were immigrants only in the strict sense of the government's population registration and had no intention of settling permanently in Singapore.


San.Jose.Population of Singapore.Focus Singapore website. from

population.Country studies website. from

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