Singapore has long had anxieties about the city-state’s declining birth rate, a problem that will become even more urgent as the population gets older (the number of seniors in the country is expected to double by 2030).
The newly published 2021 Marriage and Parenthood Survey is unlikely to relieve any of those anxieties. Among its findings — half of single Singaporeans aren’t dating and 38% of those who weren’t dating have never dated anybody before.
Asked why they weren’t dating, the top reasons given included limited social circle (58%), not having many opportunities to meet potential partners (57%), their preference to leave dating to chance (48%), wanting to concentrate on their job/ studies (37%) and finding it difficult to form romantic relationships (36%).
Among Singaporean singles who were dating, a major shift in how they found their partners can be seen in a comparison of the survey’s latest findings versus the 2012 edition. Ten years ago, most respondents said they met their partners through friends (32%) or school (30%). In 2021, those traditional means had diminished while the percentage who said they met their partners through online channels rose from 7% to 29%.
However, when singles were asked which ways they feel comfortable with meeting a potential dating partner, only 58% said they were comfortable with dating apps/sites. They were, on average, much more comfortable with traditional channels such as through social/recreational activities (90%) and introductions by friends or fellow students (88%). Looks like meeting people offline is still the preferred route.
Most single respondents aged 21-35 said they wanted to get married (80%) and 77% of those said they wanted to have children.
Among those who were already married, 92% wanted to have two or more children. But the survey notes that, in practice, most married respondents (51%) had fewer than two children. Among the top reasons cited by those not wanting to have more children were financial cost (64%) and raising children in Singapore being too stressful (49%).
While on the topic of children, it’s peculiar to see that many are not aware of how reproduction technology – that includes in vitro fertilization (IVF) – works. Over 70% of survey respondents have the misconception that these technologies have very high success rates for women above 40. Babies don’t come from magic, people.
The 2021 M&P Survey was commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division and was conducted from February to June 2021. Respondents were comprised of 2,848 singles (never-married) and 3,017 married Singapore residents, aged 21 to 45 years old.