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Interesting demographics facts of Singapore! – Part 1

We have a two-part article detailing demographic oddities and change that has happened in Singapore. We’ll leave you to extrapolate any future changes you see happening and encourage you to share your views on any future facts you see happening!

In Part 1, you’ll read about the following ideas –

  1. Population is growing but Singapore residents are shrinking
  2. We are becoming more knowledgeable

In Part 2, we look closer into the following facts. Keep a look out!

  1. There are less males for females to choose from!
  2. A nation that gradually does not believe in eternal love


1) Population is growing but Singapore residents are shrinking!

Exhibit 1: Time series on Population (Mid-Year Estimates) – Graph


Table 1: Time series on Population (Mid-Year Estimates) – Extracted

Year Total Population (‘000) (LHS) Singapore Residents (‘000) (LHS) Non-Residents (‘000) (LHS Singapore Resident % Total Population (RHS)
1980  2,413.9  2,282.1  131.8 94.5%
1990  3,047.1  2,735.9  311.2 89.8%
2000  4,027.9  3,273.4  754.5 81.3%
2010  5,076.7  3,771.7  1,305.0 74.3%
2011  5,183.7  3,789.3  1,394.4 73.1%
2012  5,312.4  3,818.2  1,494.2 71.9%
2013  5,399.2  3,844.8  1,554.4 71.2%
YoY Growth Rate 2.5% 1.6% 7.8% -0.9%

*Singapore residents consist of citizen and permanent residentsSource: Singapore Statistics



Over the span of 33 years, Singapore has developed tremendously. Despite the huge contribution of our forefathers, we have another batch of silent and hardworking heroes that have contributed much to the growth of our little tiny fishing port to a state-of-the-art financial centre. They are the Singapore Non-Residents that have chosen to make a living in Singapore.


The concern we have, as well as the general population is, “Is the intake of non-residents growing at a rate too fast and too quickly for us to adjust to?”

Our population grows at the rate of 2.5% year-on-year (YoY), Singapore residents’ YoY growth rate is 1.6%, and the non-residents’ YoY growth rate is 7.8%, since 1980. Looking at the Table 1, you will realize that the non-resident population doubled every 10 years since 1980. Singapore resident percentage to total population has decreased from 94.5% in 1980, to 71.2% in 2013, a YoY decrease rate of 0.9%.

Our view

Hold your horses in rushing to blame the “men-in-white”. Singaporeans always think that non-residents’ coming and going is bad for Singaporeans, we beg to differ. As long as these non-residents arrive, build something for us, even if they leave, these infrastructures or capabilities will stay in Singapore, and benefit Singaporeans.

Our point, we agree that the growth rate might be on the aggressive side, but we should still welcome foreigners and their talents with open arms.


2) We are becoming more knowledgeable!

Exhibit 2: Highest qualification attained of resident non-students aged 25 years and over (%)

Unlike our neighbouring countries, which are blessed with an abundance of land and resources. Singapore only has a strategic port and a small amount of population to rely on. Therefore, Singapore embarked on its journey to grow its prized possession, its labour force.

After 32 years of transforming the labour force, these are the results when comparing between 1980 and 2012.

Table 2: Education level (%) of resident non-students ages 25 years and over



Below Secondary






Post-Secondary, Diploma & Professional Qualification






Source: Singapore Statistics


More than 25% of Singapore residents are degree holders compared to the 3% in 1980. We see this trend continuing, unless the government decides to do something about it. We see this as generally good news given that Singapore needs to continue setting itself apart from our neighbours to stay competitive.

Do share your comments and thoughts with us, and whether there are any specific statistics you would like to see. You can do that by commenting on our DollarsAndSense Facebook page or at the comment box at the end of this article. aims to provide interesting, bite-sized and relevant financial articles.

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