Singapore Population Drops for First Time Since 2003 on Economy

Meghann Showers

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s total population has fallen for the first time in 17 years as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic saw less foreigners working in the city-state. © Bloomberg A cyclist rides on Esplanade bridge as buildings stand in the Central Business District in Singapore on Monday, July […]

(Bloomberg) — Singapore’s total population has fallen for the first time in 17 years as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic saw less foreigners working in the city-state.



a bridge over water with a city in the background: A cyclist rides on Esplanade bridge as buildings stand in the Central Business District in Singapore on Monday, July 6, 2020. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong vowed to hand over Singapore “intact” and in “good working order” to the next generation of leaders, predicting the coronavirus crisis will “weigh heavily” on the nation’s economy for at least a year.


© Bloomberg
A cyclist rides on Esplanade bridge as buildings stand in the Central Business District in Singapore on Monday, July 6, 2020. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong vowed to hand over Singapore “intact” and in “good working order” to the next generation of leaders, predicting the coronavirus crisis will “weigh heavily” on the nation’s economy for at least a year.

The southeast Asian nation’s total population dropped 0.3% to 5.69 million as of June from a year ago largely due to a reduction in foreign employment in the services sector, according to Singapore’s annual population report released Thursday. Total population, which include citizens, permanent residents, foreign workers and students, last fell in 2003 to 4.11 million from 4.18 million the year before.



a bridge over a body of water with a city in the background: The Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, right, and other buildings stand beyond the Marina Barrage in Singapore, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. While governments around the world are struggling to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. Singapore is devising a S$100 billion ($72 billion) plan to safeguard the city against temperatures and floodwaters several times those levels. The real challenge facing the island, though, is water. Singapore has a network of reservoirs to catch most of its rainwater and is able to recycle about 40% of its water needs.


© Bloomberg
The Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino, right, and other buildings stand beyond the Marina Barrage in Singapore, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. While governments around the world are struggling to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. Singapore is devising a S$100 billion ($72 billion) plan to safeguard the city against temperatures and floodwaters several times those levels. The real challenge facing the island, though, is water. Singapore has a network of reservoirs to catch most of its rainwater and is able to recycle about 40% of its water needs.

The non-resident population was 1.64 million as of June 2020, a decrease of 2.1% from June 2019 and the lowest since 2015. By visa type, work permit holders saw the largest decrease.

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“These trends were largely due to COVID-19 related challenges, brought about by weak demand and travel restrictions,” according to the report.

Foreign workers became a key election issue this year, with several opposition candidates campaigning that jobs are getting taken away from locals. The government has in recent weeks taken more steps to promote hiring of Singaporeans and has tightened its framework for issuing employment passes for foreigners.

Separately, Singapore’s proportion of citizens who are at least 65 years old has increased to 16.8% from 10.1% in 2010. The government is projecting this group will account for nearly a quarter of the citizen population in 2030.

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