Foreigners won’t stem ageing population: Institute of Policy Studies


A NEW population study by a think-tank shows that even if Singapore has as many as one foreigner for every two residents in the next 40 years, the population will continue to age.
At the same time, the labour force growth rate will decline.

This double whammy, in turn, will mean the number of working-age people to take care of each elderly person will keep sliding.

This was the conclusion from a set of population scenarios worked out in the study by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), released yesterday.


Title : Need for new citizens

Sept 7, 2011: IPS’ first set of population scenarios on citizens and permanent residents (PRs)

– Variables: Total fertility rate (TFR) and migration level

– In a nutshell: Even with TFR raised to 1.85 from today’s 1.2, if no new citizens or PRs are taken in, the total number of citizens and PRs will decline from 2025.

– What it implies: If TFR and migration are the only levers available to the Government, bringing in new citizens will be critical to a population growth strategy. Neither strategy can stop the ageing trend.

April 24, 2012: NPTD’s first set of population scenarios on citizens only

– Variables: TFR and migration level

– In a nutshell: Even with TFR raised to 2.1, if no new citizens are taken in, the population will shrink. If TFR remains at 1.2, a yearly intake of 20,000 to 25,000 new citizens is required to keep the population size steady.

– What it implies: New citizens are needed to prevent population decline.

May 3, 2012: IPS’ second set of population scenarios, on citizens, PRs and non-residents

            – Variable: Ratio of non-residents to residents (citizens and PRs)

           – In a nutshell: Across various ratios, bringing in more non-residents mitigates population ageing and slowdown
in total labour force growth, but does not stop those processes.

         – What it implies: A robust population policy will need to include other strategies, such as productivity growth.


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