Swedish Policy May Be The Key To A Higher Birth Rate

Singapore is revamping its procreation
policies and could be going the Swedish way, giving free childcare and
paternity leave in a bid to get couples to have more babies.

    The first
hint of possible policy changes to prop up fertility rates was given by
Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew at a dialogue yesterday, writes The Straits Times.

    “If we
don’t reproduce ourselves to 2.1, we are in trouble”, said Mr Lee, referring to
the natural replacement rate of 2.1, which Singapore’s fertility rate of 1.29
falls short of.

    “So we are
going to revamp. We’ve studied what the Swedes have done, what the French have
done”.

    “The Swedes
have completely changed their system. Support paternity leave, women get their
children into creches, into nursery schools, all paid by the state. Very heavy
expenses but Sweden
can afford it”.

    “We are
looking at our budget, can we afford it? But we’ve got to go because these are
proven ways”.

    “Before, we
were just an Asian society, with Chinese, Malays, Indians. Now we’ve got a real
rainbow spread. You can travel on the MRT…or go on a bus or go to a hawker
centre, you can see a completely different Singapore”.

    He cited
how a few Eastern Europeans have settled here. The Defence Minister “was very
surprised one day to see a golden-haired boy doing national service”. The boy
is Ukrainian; his parents live here and he is becoming a Singapore citizen.

 


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