Family policy in Singapore
This page gives information of type family policy about the country Singapore.
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Context of fertility goals
The Singaporean government started off in 1966 as antinatalist (more specifically, they tried to promote the two-child ideal in opposition to norms that encouraged more children). In 1983, they switched to a eugenic policy that encouraged high-education women to have more children and discouraged low-education women from having more than two children. Starting 1987, they switched to a uniformly pro-natalist policy for all people.
Timeline of policy
|Year||Event||Postulated effects seen in fertility statistics||Total fertility rate values in that year and nearby years (relevant year in bold)|
|1966||The government of Singapore established a "Family Planning and Population Board" which used a combination of persuasive and coercive tactics. The government launched a propaganda campaign with emphasis on the importance of the two-child ideal.||The government's activities might have helped along the decline in Singapore's fertility, but the data don't suggest any change in the trend line at the time the government introduced these policies.||4.658, 4.356, 4.074, 3.815, 3.582|
|1983||The government switched to a selective (eugenic) pro-natalist policy, providing tax breaks to highly educated women who had three or more children, while giving cash incentives to women with low levels of education who refrained from having more than two children.||This might have led to a temporary slowdown in the general decline trend.||1.78, 1.74, 1.61, 1.62, 1.61|
|1987||The government initiated a "New Population Policy" encouraging everybody to have more children. The "Two is Enough" messages were replaced by messages of the "Have Three or More Children If You Can" form.||This might have led to the uptick in fertility 1986-1988, before the resumption of the general downward trend.||1.61, 1.43, 1.62, 1.96, 1.75|
|2000||The government announced "Baby Bonus" programs as well as "Child Development Accounts" that provided government-matched long-term savings for kids.||Although the value in 2000 was anomalously high relative to earlier and later years, this is generally attributed to it being the Year of the Dragon.||1.48, 1.47, 1.6, 1.41, 1.37|
Qualitative history of family policy
The Singapore government has been relatively unusual in that it has, since the beginning, been very in-your-face about its propaganda message and has combined a wide range of coercive and persuasive tactics. They switched from widespread antinatalist propaganda to widespread pronatlaist propaganda, relying on the same machinery in both cases. Their model can be characterized as pro-natalist with a pro-traditionalist bent.
The policy has widely been deemed to have had little effect on fertility. The introduction of the changes didn't usually lead to any changes in the total fertility rate in the short run. Dragon Years seem to have done more for fertility. We don't have a clear picture regarding completed cohort fertility.
However, note that Singapore has 15-50% higher fertility than comparable metropolitan areas in East Asia. The reasons are unclear, but maybe part of the credit goes to pronatalist policies.
- Late marriage and low fertility in Singapore: the limits of policy by Gavin Jones, Japanese Journal of Fertility
- A Cross-National Comparison of Family Policy compares Singapore, France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK.