Parliamentary reply by Minister Indranee Rajah on marriage and parenthood aspirations
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
MONDAY, 10 MAY 2021
Miss Cheng Li Hui:
To ask the Prime Minister (a) what is the Ministry’s assessment of the impact of the pandemic on Singaporeans’ desires to have babies; (b) what has the Ministry done to understand the aspirations of women when it comes to getting married and having children; and (c) whether any study has been done to understand if women will consider having children as something to be done early on in a marriage or if they are delaying it for various reasons.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister):
The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) regularly conducts surveys and obtains feedback from Singaporeans, to better understand their perspectives and aspirations towards marriage and parenthood. These help to ensure that our policies and initiatives continue to meet the evolving needs of Singaporeans.
A National Marriage & Parenthood survey conducted in 2016 showed that over eight in ten young Singaporeans intended to marry. However, many tended to adopt a “sequential mindset”, only seeking to pursue marriage and parenthood after achieving other life goals, such as establishing their careers, achieving financial stability, and even travelling. This may have resulted in later marriages and family formation, which could have also resulted in couples having fewer children over time.
Our assessment is that parenthood aspirations remained strong even though some married respondents indicated that they might delay childbirth due to concerns such as financial cost, lack of good caregiving arrangements, and difficulties in managing work and family demands. The fieldwork for the 2021 Marriage and Parenthood survey is currently ongoing.
To examine the potential impact of the pandemic on Singaporeans’ parenthood plans, we commissioned a survey in June 2020 on about 2,100 married Singaporeans aged 21 to 45 years. Among those who were planning to have children prior to the pandemic, about three in ten respondents indicated that they had changed their mind because of the pandemic. Most of them would delay having a child or another one, and quoted the uncertain health and economic situation as top reasons for delaying. Therefore, to provide some reassurance to these couples, we introduced the one-off $3,000 Baby Support Grant in October 2020 for Singaporean couples who have a child in these two years. This is in addition to the existing suite of support under our Marriage and Parenthood Package.
We are also holding a series of conversations from April to September this year on “Building A Singapore That is Made For Families”. These conversations will allow us to hear from Singaporeans, both men and women, directly and gain a deeper understanding of how they feel about marriage and parenthood and also whether and if so, how, sentiments may have changed following the pandemic.
Marriage and parenthood are very personal decisions. The Government will work hard to listen to the concerns and priorities of young couples, and work with the community to build a Singapore that is Made for Families.