The Determinants of Low Fertility in Singapore: Evidence From a Household Survey
Singapore Economic Review, 2013, 58:4, pp. 1--26.
48 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2011 Last revised: 16 Jul 2014
Date Written: May 30, 2011
Below replacement fertility is a common problem among the rich countries with far reaching economic and social implications. The problem is more acute in some economically fast growing Asian countries where the fertility decline has been more rapid and the current fertility rates have reached the levels that are unprecedented in recent history. In this paper we use data from a unique household survey to understand the determinants of low fertility in one such country: Singapore. The total fertility rate in Singapore has dropped from 4.7 children per woman in 1965 to 1.16 in 2010. This is well below the replacement level of 2.1 and one of the lowest in the world. We identify three key determinants of fertility in Singapore: age at time of marriage, household income, and number of siblings’ children. We find that fertility is negatively related to age at time of marriage and positively to the number of siblings’ children. The relationship between fertility and household income is U-shaped: the relationship is negative for household incomes of up to $21,000 (in 2010 Singapore dollars) and positive for higher incomes.
Keywords: fertility, Singapore
JEL Classification: J11, J13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation