Singapore's total fertility rate falls to record low in 2023 hinh anh 1Illustrative photo (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Preliminary estimates indicated that the total fertility rate in Singapore dropped below one for the first time to 0.97 in 2023, said Indranee Rajah, Singaporean Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Speaking before the country’s Parliament on February 28, she said that Singapore recorded 26,500 resident marriages and 30,500 resident births during the year.

Indranee noted that fewer Singaporeans married and gave birth to babies annually on average over the last five years compared to the preceding five-year period.

She gave reasons for the falling fertility rate in Singapore, such as the COVID-19 pandemic delaying some couples' marriage and parenthood plans, the financial cost pressure of raising children, work-life balance worries, and generational change in priorities.

Today, young people may not even see marriage or parenthood as important life goals, she added.

She said that the Singaporean Prime Minister's Office has plans to solve the issue including measures to reduce financial pressure for couples and create favourable conditions for child rearing.

According to her, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has been ramping up infant care capacity and plans to grow childminding services as an additional infant care option for families, Indranee said, adding that the ministry will provide more details later.

On concerns regarding child-raising costs, she said the MSF will lower childcare fee caps in the anchor and partner operator preschools in 2025.

Indranee pointed to measures announced in Budget 2023 to boost support for parents and families, such as increasing government-paid paternity leave to four weeks.

Besides providing leave, the government is also exploring other sustainable ways such as flexible work arrangements to help parents better manage work and family commitments, she said./.