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Lee hopes Year of Horse will boost S’pore birthrates

February 1, 2014

Despite a series of so-called "baby bonuses" to encourage couples to have children, Singapore has not been able to boost its fertility rate.

SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is hoping that this year’s Valentine’s Day which coincides with Chap Goh Mei, the15th day of the Lunar New Year will set couples off on a ‘galloping start” in the Year of the Horse.

“Almost 300 couples have registered to marry on this auspicious day, so we are off to a galloping start.

“I hope to hear more wedding bells and newborns’ cries throughout the year,” he said in his Lunar New Year message.

Lee said the wealthy city-state needed “enough children to form the next generation” amid concerns over the influx of immigrants.

“Unfortunately, despite our efforts to promote marriage and parenthood, our birth rates are still too low,” Lee, a father of four, said.

Singapore’s current fertility rate is 1.19 babies per female, down from 1.29 in 2012. The rate for ethnic Chinese Singaporeans, who make up 74% of the resident population, is lower, at 1.06.

“We must try to do better. I hope the Year of the Horse will see some improvement,” said the 61-year-old leader.

Despite a series of so-called “baby bonuses” to encourage couples to have children, Singapore has not been able to boost its fertility rate to the 2.1 level needed to maintain the native-born population. Its low birth rate has forced the government to rely on foreign workers.

Foreigners now comprise a third of the 5.4 million population.

This report first appeared in http://www.investvine.com


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