Covid-19 May Cause Singaporeans To Delay Marriages & Births

Modern Singapore’s always had a fascination with the number of citizen babies born and the number of marriages we have — which usually leads to more babies born.

Thus, analysts’ opinions were quickly sought when the Department of Statistics Singapore (DSS) released data saying that there were fewer marriages in 2019, and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said more babies were born.

What one said wasn’t optimistic: Covid-19 would worsen the trend of fewer marriages and babies born in Singapore.

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Marriages postponed during Covid-19 outbreak

Sociology professor Paulin Straughan told TODAY Online that the pandemic may cause Singaporeans to delay their marriage plans and put off having children.

That’s understandable, due to the uncertainty over income and jobs. Many weddings have already been postponed, especially due to ‘Circuit Breaker’.

However, she’s heard of “Covid babies” being made when couples spend more time at home, but she’s not sure whether they will help mitigate the expected fall in baby production.

Further drop in marriages & births predicted

Another sociology professor Tan Ern Ser told TODAY Online that he believes marriages and births will drop further next year.

One reason could be because of financial strain due to retrenchment and unemployment, he said.

Although he didn’t mention Covid-19 specifically, the pandemic has already led to a record fall in employment between April and June this year.

39,279 babies born in 2019

ICA released its statistics on annual births and deaths in Singapore for 2019 in June, and revealed that 39,279 babies were born last year.

That’s a marginal increase from the 39,039 in 2018 — just 0.6%.

However, if you look at the figure from 2015 to 2019, the number of births is on a downward trend, with a steady decrease from the 42,185 in 2015.

What’s more, 21,446 people died in 2019, which is a 0.8% increase from 2018’s 21,282.

The number of deaths is on an upward trend since 2015 – that means the natural population increase is actually going down.

This graph from the ICA illustrates this perfectly.

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Fewer marriages even before Covid-19

We’re not doing well on the marriage front either.

According to DSS data released on Tuesday (28 Jul), 25,434 couples got married in 2019.

This is down 5.8% from the figure in 2018.

The 2019 figure is also lower than the yearly average between 2015 and 2019 of 27,389, and the yearly average between 2010 and 2014 of 26,844.

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More getting divorced

7,623 couples split up in 2019, though — a 3.8% rise from 2018.

This figure is also higher than the yearly average between 2015 and 2019 of 7,536.

It’s also higher than the yearly average between 2010 and 2014 of 7,402.

That means divorce is actually on an upward trend.

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The full statistics can be found here.

Fuller picture next year

Note that Covid-19 hadn’t entered the picture yet in 2019, we’ve yet to see how the pandemic will affect marriage and births in Singapore.

We’ll have to wait till next year to get a better idea of that.

It isn’t very optimistic, though, and we’ll have to be prepared for it.

Featured images adapted from Facebook and Facebook.