Singapore will give couples a $S3000 ($A3083) grant for any child born over the next two years, the government has revealed.
The “one-off” payment aims to “further help couples defray child-raising costs“ during the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister’s office (PMO) stated.
The outlay will supplement existing incentives that are worth up to $S10,000 per child.
According to a recent survey cited by the prime minister’s office, 30 per cent of Singaporeans deemed themselves “likely to delay their plans to get married or to have a child as a result of the pandemic and its effects on the economy”.
“The government will spare no effort to help couples meet their marriage and parenthood aspirations,” said Indranee Rajah, a minister in the PMO who heads the National Population and Talent Division.
One of the world’s wealthiest economies per capita, Singapore in 2001 began offering financial incentives to induce couples to have more children, after its once-high fertility rate plunged.
During the 1970s, the prime minister urged families to “stop at two” – advice that seems to have led to one of the world’s lowest fertility rates, below China, Japan and the European Union.
On average, Singaporean couples now have 1.14 children according to 2019 data, below the 2.1 level required for a population to be sustained from one generation to the next without immigration.
Singapore’s population shrank 0.3 per cent during the 12 months to July 2020, according to official data published last month.
Singapore’s 5.69 million population consists of 3.5 million “Singaporean citizens,” with the remainder made up of “permanent residents” and migrant workers.