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Singapore in Numbers - ...of babies and births

A recent article highlighted that as at 2018, Singapore has had the fewest number of births in the last 8 years; with only 39,039 babies born, a 1.5% drop from 2017. As part of this series of data demonstrations, I had thought not to focus on the low births, but to better understand the births in Singapore itself. As I continue with this journey of exploration, I continue to be surprised by the level of data transparency in Singapore and the interesting insights that are possible.

Of Double and Triple Joys in birth

Of the births in 2018, only 1.43% were multiples; that is, births with two or more babies. Data suggests that the probability of multiple births increase with age; multiple births made up no more than 0.8% of the deliveries for mothers who were aged 29 and below; but when the mother's age is 30 or higher, it doubles to 1.47%, and increases up to 2.61% for mothers ages 44 and below. While there are some mothers who do give birth beyond age 44, they are small in numbers; but their probability of multiple births is highest high as 14% for mothers aged 50-54. The data however, does not indicate the reasons behind this; but I'll leave it to medical professionals to explain and the layman to speculate. But if you're into having twins or triplets in your family, now you know the probabilities.

Regardless of the mother's age, most baby girls tend to be between 2500-3500g at birth while baby boys tend to vary more with birth weights between 2500-4000g. For single births, most mothers tend to carry the babies through 38-39 weeks of gestation; while multiple births tend to have a shorter period of gestation of 36-37 weeks; and the babies also tend to weigh less between 2000-2999g at birth.

Of the Parent's education race and nationality

As a generalization, Malay and Indian mother's tend to have more children as compared to mothers who are Chinese or belong to the Other Race category. But that doesn't tell the whole story, the mother's education level influences this significantly. Race differences aside, mothers' who are less educated tend to have more children; but the differences between races are not as noticeable when the mother has an "A" level or university degree qualification, where more than 75% of them have two children or less. In a country where 53% of those aged 25-35 hold university degrees, this could have long term implications to the birth rates in Singapore.

Data also show that more than 60% of mother's who are Chinese or belong to the Other Race category give birth at private hospitals; while more than 65% of Malay and Indian mothers give birth at public hospitals. Quite a distinct difference in birthing practices across the races.

No surprise that most parents tend to be from the same ethnic group. More than 90% of Chinese mothers tend to have Chinese fathers; but only 70+% of Malays mothers, 80+% of Indian mothers and 60+% of mothers in the Other race category have spouses of the same race group. Notably, 21% of Fathers in the Other race category have Chinese mothers.

Also no surprise that most Singaporeans tend to have children with a Singaporean spouse. Malaysian forms the majority of non Singaporean spouses (between 4.8-6.7%); followed by spouses from China (PRC) who make up 5.6% of mothers with Singaporean fathers; and 1.8% of fathers with Singaporean mothers.

While none of the observations were earth shattering, but it continues to amaze me that such data is available and that it can be converted to simple to understand formats to understand the many intricate threads that make up the fabric that is Singapore. For more information, you may click the data visualizations to go directly to an interactive version of the charts. Enjoy

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