Why is Singapore so Overpopulated?

Overpopulation has become a serious concern for Singaporeans. Before the pandemic, the city seemed to be stretched to breaking point. Singaporeans noticed that their country had gotten more crowded. Existing infrastructure and services were swamped beyond what they could handle. The public transport system was no longer as efficient as it used to be. Buses and trains were breaking down frequently. The cost of living was also skyrocketing. Singaporeans felt that it had become increasingly difficult to live, work, and raise their families. Many had made plans to migrate abroad. Myriad explanations were offered for these changes. The most common theme was that the massive influx of foreigners had caused these issues. Singaporeans were also facing increasing competition for jobs and homes from non-Singaporeans. This led to fears that the locals were slowly being replaced by these newcomers. These sentiments led to widespread dissatisfaction. This was directed at the Singapore government in the form of electoral losses and social divisions. 

The question of overpopulation is a complicated issue. This is indeed linked to Singapore’s immigration policies. The rise of xenophobia is not unique to the city-state. Rather, populism has gained strength throughout the world. This is seen as a reaction to the trends of globalism. Singapore is no different. However, one must understand the factors that led to the Singapore government’s decisions. Two longstanding issues have forced the government’s hand. They are the dual problems of low fertility rates and an ageing society. Singapore’s birthrates are well below replacement levels. This is exacerbated by a greater number of elderly people. Over the next decade or so, many of them will retire. This will cause the workforce to shrink considerably. As more people retire, there will be fewer young people to take over the reins of the economy. Productivity will slow down and growth will be stunted. A smaller population will also affect living standards. This means that the government will have a smaller tax base. Hence, taxes will have to be increased. Rising costs will have to be tolerated if a high quality of infrastructure and services is to be maintained.

These factors have influenced the government to take necessary actions. The 2013 Population White Paper outlines their intent to increase Singapore’s population from 5.6 to 6.9 million by 2030. This involves programs aimed at encouraging Singaporeans to procreate more. It also calls for a gradual and measured increase in the number of foreigners allowed into Singapore. The government intends to craft a perfect symbiosis of Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans to boost the nation’s future prospects. Too little foreigners and Singapore’s competitiveness will be at stake. Too many and her identity will be diluted. This balance symbolizes the government’s approach to ensuring Singapore’s economic edge.

These policies have led to a rise in Singapore’s overall population size. Both Singaporeans and foreigners now make up this composition. Given Singapore’s small geography, tensions have arisen. They have also influenced people’s perceptions. However, the question must be examined through nuanced lenses. The current reduction of Singapore’s traditional efficiency is due to the mismatch between her capabilities and policy aspirations. The nation’s existing infrastructure is unable to match up to the desired population aims. The government has taken measures to ensure that this equilibrium is achieved. Fundamentally, a larger population is inextricably linked to Singapore’s national and security concerns. The government wants to be able to draw upon a larger and diverse demographic makeup. They feel that this can only be done by fostering a younger and more vibrant population. Foreigners and new citizens are absolutely crucial as they will add to the local pool. Despite certain restrictions, Singapore continues to have an immigration-friendly outlook. These factors explain why the city-state is seen to be overpopulated by so many people.

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