Singapore’s population hit 4.84 million in June this year, marking a 5.5 per cent increase from a year before. The figure is buoyed by an increasing number of foreigners in the country, boosted by strong economic growth over the past few years.
The number of non-residents grew by 19 per cent, while the resident population went up by a mere one per cent.
The National Population Secretariat said foreigners increasingly view Singapore as an attractive place to relocate.
Most come from neighbouring Asian countries.
There are also more new Permanent Residents (PRs) and citizens. In the first half of this year, 34,800 were granted PRs. That’s up by some 20 per cent from the same period last year.
Meanwhile, 9,600 were granted citizenship, up by some 30 per cent, compared to the year before.
And nearly seven in 10 new PRs aged 20 and above had post-secondary qualifications.
Moving forward, the Secretariat said integration would be a key challenge.
It added that the government will also continue to exercise discretion and facilitate the naturalisation of foreigners who can add value and contribute to Singapore socially and economically.
Roy Quek, director, National Population Secretariat, said: “Integration is not just about what the government can do because the government is limited in terms of its ability to reach out to everyone. Integration happens all the time, in our schools at the workplace, in our local community, in the neighbourhoods.”
Mr Quek added that a strong non-resident presence in Singapore is also testament to the country’s good growth.
“In a way it’s a compliment to Singapore that we have a place where others want to come to, that we have economic opportunities, we have enough jobs not just for locals but also for people who are willing to come in to spend time here.
“So the key is not to look at it as competition for jobs but adding value to Singapore’s economy and ultimately contributing to a better life for all of us in Singapore,” he said.
The number of Singaporeans grew to 3.16 million due to the higher number of citizen babies and more PRs taking up citizenship.
There were some 18,000 births registered in the first half of this year, slightly higher than the numbers registered the same period last year.
So while Singapore is on track for another historic high fertility rate, the biggest concern is still about making babies.
The country’s total fertility rate was 1.29 in 2007, far below the replacement level of 2.1.
Mr Quek said: “Of course, it’s going to be an uphill task but we are hopeful at least of crossing the 1.3 level at some point in the future.”
As for overseas Singaporeans, more are making their homes abroad either for work or study.
As of June 2008, there’re about 153,500 overseas Singaporeans compared to 147,500 a year ago.
The countries with a high concentration of overseas Singaporeans are Australia, the UK, US and China.
For a full list of the statistics, you can log on to www.nps.gov.sg.
Source : Channel NewsAsia – 26 Sep 2008