Singapore records slowest decade of population growth since independence

FILE PHOTO: Commuters wearing protective face masks leave a train station during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's population rose by about 1.1% each year over the past decade, the slowest rate since independence in 1965, the latest census showed on Wednesday, with locals having fewer children and immigration policies tightening.

Just last year, the global financial hub saw its population fall 0.3% to 5.69 million, the first drop since 2003, due to fewer foreign arrivals on the back of travel curbs and job losses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Like many other developed countries, Singapore is struggling with the implications of low birth rates and an ageing population.

Residents aged 65 years and over formed 15.2% of the population in 2020, up from 9% in 2010.

Between 2010 and 2020, the number of Singaporean citizens increased to 3.52 million from 3.23 million. But more are staying single and those who marry are having fewer children.

The average number of children born to a resident female, who has been married, aged 40 to 49 years dropped to 1.76 in 2020, from 2.02 in 2010.

The median age of the resident population, which includes citizens and permanent residents, increased to 41.5 years in 2020 from 37.4 years in 2010, the latest census showed.

Authorities have also been accelerating immigration restrictions since the 2011 general elections when the ruling People's Action Party polled a record low share of the popular vote, hurt by citizens' anxiety over an influx of foreigners.

(Reporting by Chen Lin and Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Ed Davies)

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