Number of immigrants in Singapore 2005-2019

In 2019, there were about 2.16 million immigrants (here classified as people living in a country in which they were not born in) in Singapore out of a total population of about 5.7 million. Immigrants made up a significant share of the population and play a crucial role in Singapore, where the birth rate was among the lowest in the world.

Singapore’s immigrant population

The immigrant population of Singapore made up slightly more than 40 percent of the total population of the country in 2018. Throughout its history as a port city, Singapore had been a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. Currently, as one of Asia’s most important economies, it attracts people from all over the world and of different socioeconomic backgrounds to seek better opportunities. The immigrant population is largely of Asian origin, with neighboring Malaysians making up the majority.

Of expats and migrant workers

Lacking in natural resources, Singapore’s government has long stressed that its most important resource is its people. However, with declining birth rates and low population growth, the country increasingly relies on immigrants to help shoulder the economic burden. In 2017, Singapore’s foreign workforce stood at just under 1.37 million, out of which about 370 thousand were classified as skilled labor. Most of the foreign workforce were employed in sectors that were deemed unappealing to Singaporeans, such as in construction and the service industry, or as domestic help.

Number of immigrants in Singapore from 2005 to 2019

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Release date

September 2019



Survey time period

2005 to 2019

Supplementary notes

The estimated number of international immigrants, in the middle of the indicated year; generally represents the number of persons born in a country other than where they live. When data on the place of birth are unavailable, the number of non-citizens is used as a proxy for the number of international immigrants. The foreign population includes refugees, some of whom may not be foreign-born. .

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