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Aging population of Singapore - statistics & facts

Singapore is currently facing an aging population, caused by increased life expectancy coupled with decreasing birth rates. In 2021, it had one of the highest life expectancies in the world. In that same year, however, Singapore had one of the lowest fertility rate in the world, at 1.15 children per woman. By 2035, it was estimated that around a third of Singaporeans will be aged 65 and above, while the median age was also expected to rise from 39.7 in 2015 to 53.4 in 2050. This demographic shift places pressure on Singaporean society as a shrinking workforce struggles to support an aging population.

Challenges from an aging population

An aging population comes with a unique set of challenges, from reduced economic growth to increased healthcare and social services costs. As such, improving the lives of the elderly has also become a top priority for the Singapore government, as employment alone will not be enough to sustain Singaporeans in their twilight years. In 2015, the Singapore government introduced The Pioneer Generation Package to help citizens born before the year 1950 cope with health care and living expenses. In 2019, the Merdeka Generation Package was launched to help baby boomers born during the 1950s.

There is also a growing demand for day-care and dementia care facilities for senior citizens. As of 2020, there were 83 senior activity centers, almost double the amount in 2011. On the corporate level, several companies such as the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) have introduced staff training and courses to better communicate with seniors.

Challenges facing Singapore's elderly

Growing old in Singapore translates to higher costs of living. In 2019, a report by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy found that a Singaporean senior citizen aged 65 years and above and living alone required about S$1,379 a month to meet basic standards of living. For those between 55 and 64 years, the figure was S$1,721. A survey of Singaporeans found that 49 percent felt that they were not prepared for old age in terms of health and well-being, whereas 55 percent of respondents also felt that they were not financially prepared for old age. This may have contributed to a marked increase in seniors in the Singapore workforce today.

By 2030, the retirement and re-employment age would be raised to 65 and 70 years respectively. According to Ministry of Manpower figures, the number of employed residents aged 65 and older as of 2018 was 145,000 whereas a decade ago, it was at approximately 50,000. To encourage employers to hire senior workers, the government introduced the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant, which would provide funding support of up to 125 thousand Singapore dollars to employers who raised the internal retirement and re-employment ages above the current legal retirement and re-employment age.

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