Singapore

Leon Perera: Does the government take seriously the link between housing affordability and Singapore’s fertility rate? – Singapore News

SINGAPORE — In the debate on motions regarding housing in Parliament this week, Workers’ Party MP Leon Perera (Aljunied GRC) brought up the link between Singapore’s total fertility rate (TFR) and the process of acquiring a house.

“It is often said that economic factors like house prices are not the only factor affecting the willingness of couples to have children. But talking to many constituents and fellow Singaporeans over the years, I am of the view that, while not being the only factor, it is a very important factor indeed,” said Mr Perera.

Mr Perera added that he had spoken to a recently-married female resident of the Serangoon ward of Aljunied GRC, who, like her husband, is a university graduate. The woman told him that she felt that the burden of debt to buy a decent home was so costly that she and her husband were not sure if they wanted to have children if they could not give them all the support they needed to have successful lives in Singapore.

“Hence, I would like to ask the government if it takes seriously the possible linkage between TFR and housing access and affordability. Has it studied the effect of rising and high house prices on our TFR?”

Mr Perera cited a paper written by a PhD student from the National University of Singapore from 2021 wherein the author had found a significant link between higher resale prices of housing and a  lower total fertility rate.

“Surely this is a question that can be addressed through economic modelling, regression analysis, and so on. Has the government studied this and will it share data on this? If not, would it do so?” he added.

Mr Perera’s speech may be viewed here.

Singapore’s TFR for 2022 is 1.237 births per woman, an increase of 0.57 per cent increase from 2021. Studies show that a total fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is needed to ensure a broadly stable population. /TISG

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