Low birth rate is an issue that most of developed countries are facing. Many women became career minded and did not want to sacrifice climbing up the career ladder to start a family. The education of women and their ability to earn high income have altered social behavior and led to marriages later in life. The cause of this problem in the first place is their minds are occupied with fear of the costs and burden of having children. (Loh, 2012). In the western European countries like Germany, Spain and Belgium are also facing with low fertility rates .
With the replacement rates in the developed countries of 2. 1; Germany has its rates of 1. 4. This can be shown that during the 21st century the Western European countries could become the slowly aging leader of a rapidly aging world. (Lee, 2012). Low fertility rates still remain as their incentives for consumption tilt overwhelmingly toward health care. (Last, 2013) Singapore, one of the Asia countries experienced in the same issue, its birth rates have been steadily declining and we do not have enough young people to support those who are of retirement age and on social security.
Hence, Singapore government has introduced the measures to promote its population growth by providing financial support, encouraging immigration and extending the maternity leave. These measures are effective because through these various measures, married couples may be convinced to have more children as high of cost of raising children and the lack of suitable childcare arrangement were addressed. Thus, lead to population growth.
To help relieve the financial burden of having children, the government allowed the use of “Medisave” to pay for the delivery charge of the first three children and the “Baby bonus” (Cash + Co-development fund) is to be given for each child. The government also provides income tax relief of $3,000 if a grandparent is helping the couple take care of their child. Parents also could make claims for medical bills. (2007, P. 50-51) Encourage immigration The government relaxed its immigration policy to attract foreign talent with skills that Singapore required.
By making it easier for foreigners to work and live in Singapore, the government would subsidies housing and education package. With more incentives for these foreigners and their families, the government hopes that they would take up permanent residence or citizenship, thus helping to increase Singapore’s population growth. Mr. Lee, mentioned “Without immigration that often exceeds the natural yearly growth, Singapore’s economic growth rate would be as sluggish as Japan’s. ” (Lee, 2005). This shows that this measure will boost up the quality of Singapore’s increase talent pool.