Singapore hit an all-time low birth rate in 2022 after years of decline. PIXABAY

Analysts found that Singapore's birth rate last year plummeted by 7.9 per cent, due to how expensive it is to live in Singapore, and the high cost of living continues to steer many away from expanding their family.

Data from the Singapore Department of Statistics showed that women between the ages of 25 and 29 are now less likely to give birth than women between 35 to 39 years old.

Jaya Dass, Randstad's Asia-Pacific Managing Director, said: "Having a child is tied to many things – the affordability of a house, a spouse, and the maturity of the job market that makes you feel secure enough to do it."

She continued: "The attractiveness of wanting to have a child has actually reduced significantly because of how life has matured and changed."

Alongside an ageing population, Singapore's birth rate decline is encouraging the government to give out incentives for "First Timer Families" and a "Baby Bonus Cash Gift" of up to $13,000 (nearly £8,000).

Couples with babies born from February 14 will receive 11,000 Singapore dollars (over £6,000) for their first and second child, and 13,000 for their third child and beyond, jumping to 37 per cent from 30 per cent.

The Singapore government also introduced total parental leave of up to 26 weeks in the child's first year, compared to eight weeks a year in the UK per child. Singapore also included more Government-Paid Paternity Leave, increasing from two to four weeks for fathers whose babies are born in 2024.

However, Wen Wei Tan, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said that "throwing money" at the problem will not solve it.

He said: "Tackling the fertility rate will require us to confront some of the weakness of the underlying systems...Which means not only addressing demographic challenges, but also helping to build social cohesion, and perhaps look at how we can foster healthier attitudes towards risk-taking."

Furthermore, the Singapore government is set to build new Built-to-Order (BTO) flats as a priority for families with children and young married couples.

The BTO flats will be classified by their location and will take effect from the second half of 2024.

PM Lee said it is needed to achieve three important objectives: keep flats affordable to all income groups, maintain a good social mix in every town and region and keep the public housing system fair for everyone.

However, public housing apartments – known locally as HDB flats – are high in demand but supply is low as construction came to a halt during the pandemic.

Labour shortages and the high cost of raw materials delayed housing projects, meaning couples had to wait twice as long for their apartments, causing some to marry later.

In 2022, the EIU ranked Singapore as the most expensive city-state to live in, sharing the spot with New York City.

CEIC data showed that house prices in the city-state continue to rise rapidly, increasing by 7.5 per cent year-on-year in June 2023.

Furthermore, the high cost of living means more couples with dual incomes and no kids. This, alongside a mindset shift prioritising a career rather than creating a family, is another big reason for the decrease in Singapore's birth rate.

Tan Poh Lin, senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, voiced: "Once women have children, they're going to see a slowdown in their career progression. Many make the decision to wait till they feel secure and stable in their jobs so there won't be a serious threat to their income if they take time away from work."

Education is another reason many Singaporeans benefit from delaying marriage. In 2022, 36.2 per cent of residents who were 25 years and above had a university degree — compared to 25.7 per cent a decade ago.

The decline in Singapore's birth rate also means the workforce may suffer serious consequences. Tan Poh Lin expressed: "Having fewer children means you have a smaller workforce that can contribute to the economy. And with Singapore's high life expectancy, the dependency ratio will increase."

By Kaja Traczyk

Kaja Traczyk is a reporter for the International Business Times UK and a Journalism Undergraduate with experience in news writing, reporting, and researching.