The results of the 2021 Marriage and Parenthood survey by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) has just came out, and the results are pretty interesting.
Let’s look at some of the interesting responses.
This article was submitted by a Guest Contributor. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the Guest Contributor.
Marriage is still on the cards for most young Singaporeans.
A majority (80%) of young single respondents (aged 21-35) indicated that they intend to marry. This is a slight decline compared to 2016 (83%) and 2012 (86%).
There seems be contentment with staying single.
A significant proportion of single respondents have never dated before, and are not proactive in dating.
Of the single respondents surveyed, 50% were not currently dating. 38% of those who were not currently dating had never dated before.
The use of dating websites and apps have become more prevalent. Around 58% were comfortable with meeting a partner through online dating websites or apps.
Similar to previous surveys, a majority of single respondents (75%) indicated that having a career and raising a family were equally important.
14% saw family as more important than career, a slight decline from previous years.
Expectations vs Reality
The survey gave a really interesting look into the ideal, intended and actual number of children among respondents surveyed.
When asked about their ideal number of children, the vast majority (92%) of married respondents indicated preference to have two or more children, comparable to previous surveys.
However, in practice, about half of married respondents (51%) had fewer than two children.
Understandably, the key considerations behind deciding whether to have children, centre around the costs of child-raising, as well as being able to manage work and family commitments.
Financial cost was the most common reason cited by married respondents who did not want to have (more) children.
Almost 50% of respondents indicated that raising children in Singapore is too stressful.
Another major factor was whether they would be able to cope with both work and family demands (34%).
Quite a number also noted that there was a lack of good caregiving arrangements (17%).
I am your Father
Almost all (99%) married respondents agreed that fathers and mothers were equally important as caregivers for children.
95% agreed that both parents should share equal responsibilities at home.
Gender norms are shifting (*slow clap*).
The proportion of those who felt that “ideally, the mother should take care of her children full-time” fell from 56% in 2016 to 40% in 2021 for married respondents.
Married women continued to do more at home compared to their husbands, primarily in the area of child-related care.
On average, women spent about 6 hours on a normal weekday on childcare, and 10 hours on weekends. In contrast, men reported an average of 3.6 hours on weekdays and 7.7 hours on weekends.
In general, women were less satisfied with the division of domestic labour compared to their male counterparts, with 59% of women saying they were happy with the division, compared to 72% of men.
Workplaces can do more
Most (77%) married respondents felt that paternity leave would make/had made it easier for them to have children.
Both men and women prefer flexible work arrangements (FWAs), and this was especially important for those with young children (0-6 years).
A large majority of married respondents agreed that the availability of FWAs would make/had made it easier for them to start a family (90%) and have more children (81%).
Fertility health awareness
Many respondents were not not aware that reproduction technology cannot compensate for age-related decline in fertility.
Over 70% of married and single respondents have the misconception that assisted reproductive technologies like IVF would have very high success rates for women above age 40.
Help Singapore’s ageing population!
Is it too expensive to have kids in Singapore? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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