Singapore in Numbers - Marriage
In this segment, we will be exploring another theme in the 2020 Singapore Population Census - Marriage. The census highlighted a drop in the proportion of married persons over the last 10 years and that more among those aged 25-34 stayed single. The report did not speculate the reasons why; could it be due to the pandemic, or could this have been a longer term trend? Let's see what the data reveals.
A longer term analysis suggests that the pandemic was indeed a factor in the increase in the percentage of singles in Singapore. The percentage of single females was creeping up since 2000, while the percentage of singles was more stable among males; but both genders showed a 1% increase in 2020, probably due to the pandemic. After all, it is hard to date or get married under social distancing conditions. But Singapore is made up of people of different ages; and the marriage affects them differently over time and over the pandemic. Data suggests that the increase in percentage of people staying single is growing across ALL age groups (upward trend in the blue line); it also suggests that people do get married but at an older age. Notable, there are significant percentage of females aged 50 and above who are widowed (husbands passed away before them), though the percentages have been falling.
Education appears to be a major factor as well. Singapore has a very well education populace; where more from each generation achieving a higher educational qualification from before. In fact, more than 50% of those aged 25-29 hold a university degree. But how has this impact marriage rates in Singapore?
Men tend to get married later than women; and men and women of all educational qualifications are getting married later in life. But interestingly, more men with higher educational qualifications tend to get married earlier; while men with lower educational qualifications tend to stay single longer. However, the opposite appears to be true for women; where women with lower educational qualifications tend to get married earlier, while women with higher education tend to get married later.
On the basis of the data in this article as well as the trends in the previous article in the series, FYT highlights the following observations:
More Singaporeans of ALL ages are choosing to remain single; but percentages are not big. By aged 50-59, about 75% of residents will be married.
The pandemic has had some impact on the marriage rates, but the trends were already there before COVID struck
In the previous article in the series, we had also established that many Singaporeans felt crowded out by the number of non-residents and the growing population on an island of finite size; which could also be contributing factors
Some of Singapore's marriage trends and woes are due to Singapore's stage in national development and economic growth; where more well educated women are choosing to stay single and where less educated men are also choosing the same.
Marriage is a very personal issue and choice, and while national policies had offer various carrots and sticks to influence the populace, there are much larger forces at play. While FYT does not have the answers, but we hope that the data can facilitate objective fact based discussions on the topic. For more information, you can explore the data yourself here