More marriages, babies born here in 2014
WEDDING bells rang frequently last year and the stork was a more regular visitor, as statistics released yesterday showed that more Singaporeans got married and had babies.
There were 24,000 marriages involving at least one citizen, the highest number since 1997, said the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) in a statement.
And 33,000 babies were born to Singaporeans, up from 31,000 the year before.
This pushes Singapore's total fertility rate up to 1.25, from 1.19 the year before.
These statistics brought cheer to Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Grace Fu, who said: "I'm delighted to see more Singaporeans finding love and joy, and setting up new families with their loved ones and having children of their own. This is indeed a good SG50 present for Singapore."
The NPTD, which is under the PMO, attributed the increased number of marriages partly to the greater availability of Housing Board flats, and partly to more Singaporeans - the children of the baby boomers generation - entering marriageable age.
"The Government has been supporting them in fulfilling their aspirations to marry and have children, for example, by increasing the supply of HDB flats," the NPTD said in a statement.
"We will continue to support Singaporean families, including in the area of childcare, and make it easier for both fathers and mothers to share the experience of bringing up their children," it added:
In 2013, as part of efforts to boost marriages and births, the Government introduced two policies to help young couples get their own homes.
The Parenthood Priority Scheme sets aside 30 per cent of Build-To-Order flats and 50 per cent of balance flats for married couples who have a citizen child aged below 16, or are expecting a child.
The Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme gives families the option of renting an HDB flat while waiting for their new flat.
Before last year's uptick in the number of marriages involving at least one Singapore citizen, such marriages had fallen from 23,192 in 2012 to 21,842 in 2013.
In 2012, Singapore's total fertility rate - which is the average number of children born to a woman who completes her child-bearing years - was 1.29.
Said Ms Fu: "I hope that these positive trends will continue in Singapore's Jubilee year, as we gain confidence in Singapore's future as a good place to raise our families, where many opportunities for education and jobs await our children."