Marginal increase in births, record number of new citizens in 2007

There were 30,168 resident births in the first 10 months of 2007. According to the National Population Secretariat, this was just 1 percent higher compared to the same period the year before.

However, the shortfall in resident births is being compensated by a record number of foreigners who are calling Singapore home.

The whole of last year saw 13,209 foreigners taking up Singapore citizenship and 57,310 taking up permanent residency.

In the first 10 months of this year, Singapore attracted 13,969 new citizens – much higher than the average of 9,600 in the past five years – and 53,011 new permanent residents (PRs), a 21 percent rise compared to the average of 43,600 in the last five years.

“A City of Possibilities” was the theme of the 2007 National Day Parade.

By witnessing the events performed on the world’s largest floating platform at Marina for the first time, Singaporeans got a glimpse of the sea of possibilities that lie ahead.

On August 19, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said, “Over the next decade, we have a unique opportunity to transform Singapore. Together, let us make this truly a City of Possibilities and a home for all of us!”

That includes more foreigners; about 14,000 of them took up the invitation to call Singapore home.

At the first-ever national ceremony on August 17, 155 foreigners swore allegiance to Singapore as they received their citizenship from Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng.

The National Population Secretariat told Channel NewsAsia that it does not set targets on new PRs and citizens.

It added that “the high number of new PRs and SCs (Singapore citizenship) granted could be due to the broadening of the criteria for citizenship applications in 2004, as well as the many economic opportunities that Singapore offers”.

This influx of immigrants is likely to continue in the coming years.

So there is no let up in efforts to integrate them into the community.

Favourable economic conditions have been cited for the increase in the number of foreigners here.

The economy has been on an upswing, unemployment has fallen to record lows, and many employees – including those in the public service sector – have been rewarded with a pay rise and record bonuses.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 25 Dec 2007

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