Poll: Present policies won't make couples have children


AS Singapore frets over its all-time-low birth rate, a new poll has thrown more light on why couples are reluctant to start families.  

Seven out of 10 people say free medical care for mother and child is a more important perk than money (17%) when coaxing young couples to have a baby. 

Free education for each child is also favoured by six out of 10 polled. 

About half of them say the option to work from home could persuade them to have a baby, while just over 20% are enticed by childcare facilities at work. 

Only one out of 10 gave weight to longer leave for mum when the newborn arrives. 

In short, existing policies are not going to bring the stork here often enough, suggests a poll done last week. 

The Internet poll of 317 people on The Straits Times Interactive website was done following a news report last Thursday that births had fallen to a 14-year low of 40,800 last year.  

Apart from all the attendant problems of a population that is not replacing itself and is ageing rapidly, sociologist Paulin Tay Straughan worries that the pool of foreign workers will shrink as neighbouring economies recover. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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