Singapore’s 2020 Population Decline

Singapore is in an unenviable position when it comes to population growth. First off in 2017 it was concluded that the Lion City has the lowest fertility rate of any country in the world. Relatedly, it has also been reported that the birth rate is comparably low.

Accordingly it had been recommended that the country welcome more immigrants. And indeed for the past couple of decades there has been a steady, growing influx of non-residents, i.e. foreigners, into the city-state.

Many of them are actually laborers who work in the service sector. And as you undoubtedly know, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 wreaked havoc on economies throughout the world. This proved especially true in Singapore, where the nation has and at this moment is still going through a historic recession.

So many of the aforementioned laborers lost their jobs, compelling them to leave the Lion City. And resultantly the foreign population of the country dropped by 2%. This is a major incident considering that as of mid-2020 nonresidents (i.e. foreigners) constitute about 30% of Singapore’s overall population of 5,700,000. And holistically just like the pandemic itself, the exodus of nonresidents has affected sectors across the board.

So as the result of all of this, Singapore has experienced an overall population decrease of 0.3%. This is despite the fact that some of its own nationals are also returning home due to the global pandemic. And this has presented a unique problem for the government.  For on one hand they are now compelled to reserve the jobs which are left for their own citizens. Yet simultaneously, they don’t want to give the impression that they are against foreign immigration. And this for a country who, despite its international popularity, is more or less known for not being overly foreigner-friendly in the first place.

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