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Singapore Demographics Profile

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Population5,866,139 (July 2021 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Singaporean(s)

adjective: Singapore
Ethnic groupsChinese 74.3%, Malay 13.5%, Indian 9%, other 3.2% (2020 est.)

note: data represent population by self-identification; the population is divided into four categories: Chinese, Malay (includes indigenous Malays and Indonesians), Indian (includes Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, or Sri Lankan), and other ethnic groups (includes Eurasians, Caucasians, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese)
LanguagesEnglish (official) 48.3%, Mandarin (official) 29.9%, other Chinese dialects (includes Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka) 8.7%, Malay (official) 9.2%, Tamil (official) 2.5%, other 1.4%; note - data represent language most frequently spoken at home (2020 est.)

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

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ReligionsBuddhist 31.1%, Christian 18.9%, Muslim 15.6%, Taoist 8.8%, Hindu 5%, other 0.6%, none 20% (2020 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 12.8% (male 406,983/female 387,665)

15-24 years: 15.01% (male 457,190/female 474,676)

25-54 years: 50.73% (male 1,531,088/female 1,618,844)

55-64 years: 10.58% (male 328,024/female 328,808)

65 years and over: 10.89% (male 310,123/female 366,259) (2020 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 34.5

youth dependency ratio: 16.5

elderly dependency ratio: 18

potential support ratio: 5.6 (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 35.6 years

male: 35.4 years

female: 35.7 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate0.95% (2021 est.)
Birth rate9.13 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate3.93 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate4.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Population distributionmost of the urbanization is along the southern coast, with relatively dense population clusters found in the central areas
Urbanizationurban population: 100% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 0.74% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Major cities - population5.992 million SINGAPORE (capital) (2021)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.07 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth30.5 years (2015 est.)

median age
Maternal mortality rate8 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 1.56 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 1.72 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 1.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 86.19 years

male: 83.48 years

female: 89.05 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate1.15 children born/woman (2021 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Health expenditures4.5% (2018)
Physicians density2.29 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density2.5 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.2% (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS8,000 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children
HIV/AIDS - deaths<100 (2020 est.)

note: estimate does not include children
Obesity - adult prevalence rate6.1% (2016)
Education expenditures2.9% of GDP (2013)
Demographic profile

Singapore has one of the lowest total fertility rates (TFR) in the world – an average of 1.15 children born per woman – and a rapidly aging population.  Women’s expanded educations, widened aspirations, and a desire to establish careers has contributed to delayed marriage and smaller families. Most married couples have only one or two children in order to invest more in each child, including the high costs of education.  In addition, more and more Singaporeans, particularly women, are staying single.  Factors contributing to this trend are a focus on careers, long working hours, the high cost of living, and long waits for public housing.    With fertility at such a low rate and rising life expectancy, the proportion of the population aged 65 or over is growing and the youth population is shrinking.  Singapore is projected to experience one of the largest percentage point increases in the elderly share of the population at 21% between 2019 and 2050, according to the UN.  The working-age population (aged 15-64) will gradually decrease, leaving fewer workers to economically support the elderly population.

Migration has played a key role in Singapore’s development.  As Singapore’s economy expanded during the 19th century, more and more Chinese, Indian, and Malay labor immigrants arrived.  Most of Singapore’s pre-World War II population growth was a result of immigration.  During World War II, immigration came to a halt when the Japanese occupied the island but revived in the postwar years.  Policy was restrictive during the 1950s and 1960s, aiming to protect jobs for residents by reducing the intake of low-skilled foreign workers and focusing instead on attracting professionals from abroad with specialist skills.  Consequently, the nonresident share of Singapore’s population plummeted to less than 3%. 

As the country industrialized, however, it loosened restrictions on the immigration of manual workers.  From the 1980s through the 2000s, the foreign population continued to grow as a result of policies aimed at attracting foreign workers of all skill levels.  More recently, the government has instituted immigration policies that target highly skilled workers. Skilled workers are encouraged to stay and are given the opportunity to become permanent residents or citizens.  The country, however, imposes restrictions on unskilled and low-skilled workers to ensure they do not establish roots, including prohibiting them from bringing their families and requiring employers to pay a monthly foreign worker levy and security bond.  The country has also become increasingly attractive to international students. The growth of the foreign-born population has continued to be rapid; as of 2015, the foreign-born composed 46% of the total population.  At the same time, growing numbers of Singaporeans are emigrating for education and work experience in highly skilled sectors such finance, information technology, and medicine.  Increasingly, the moves abroad are permanent.

Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 97.3%

male: 98.9%

female: 95.9% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 17 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2018)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on September 18, 2021