Foreigners make up 64% of Singapore’s citizen population. Should we panic?

The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) just released its Population in Brief report for the year.

In a nutshell, Singapore’s population hit 5.61 million in June 2016.

The not so good news? The number of foreigners (non-residents + permanent residents) now make up a whopping 64 percent of the population.

Statistics in Brief

Number of citizens: 3.41 million

Number of non-residents: 1.67 million

Number of permanent residents: 0.52 million

 

 

Should we panic now? Before we hyperventilate, here are some things to consider.

 

Small island states rely heavily on imports for food and labour
Small island states rely heavily on imports for food and labour
  1. Countries with similar foreigner-citizen ratios are all small, micro-states that rely heavily on foreign labour and trade to survive.

    A quick look at 2015 UN population statistics shows eight other states that have similarly high or higher foreigner-citizen ratios.

    They are Macau (59%), the Virgin Islands (59%), Sin Maarten (60%), Falkland Islands (62%), Monaco (64%), Samoa (71%), United Arab Emirates (71%) and Vatican City (100%).

    Fact is, like these eight other states, Singapore is small and geographically limited. We need to import virtually everything – all our food, even our water, and our foreign labourers too.

    Is this an excuse to import as many foreigners as we like? Not really. But if we tweak the numbers a little and view permanent residents as part of our citizenry (I know we’re on shaky ground here), we would end up with a figure that’s much more comfortable – a 42% foreigner-citizen ratio.

    What should we make of this? It really depends on the needs of the economy and how fast the local workforce and population can reproduce itself. Unless we want to end up like Japan, we’d best be making more babies as soon as possible, lest Singaporeans really become a rare breed in our own country.

    Graph courtesy of The Singapore Daily journalism team. Statistics from NPTD Population in Brief.

    Graph courtesy of The Singapore Daily journalism team. Statistics from NPTD Population in Brief.

  2. The growth in the foreigner population in Singapore has slowed.

    Even by anecdotal evidence alone, it does seem that the foreign born population has slowed down. Employers are finding it harder to employ foreigners. Many companies are shifting to high tech solutions to beat the labour crunch, or shifting out altogether.

    So Singaporeans’ protests against the large influx of foreigners might have been heard and answered. Could we see a stagnation in the foreigner population one day? Perhaps, going by the projections in this chart.

    Will that be a good thing for Singapore?

    I’m not so sure yet.

    Although it seems that we’ve held off the growth in the foreign population, Singaporeans will need to fill the void after these foreigners leave. How do we adjust quickly enough to meet the needs of the future economy without cheap foreign labour?

    Can we do it fast enough to keep companies afloat in Singapore, both local and foreign?

 

Nicholas Yeo is an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore majoring in communications and new media.

3 Replies to “Foreigners make up 64% of Singapore’s citizen population. Should we panic?”

  1. The mathematics is wrong.
    “The number of foreigners (non-residents + permanent residents) now make up a whopping 64 percent of the population.”
    The statement above and the headline implied that it is 64% of the total population.
    Correct answer is 39%!
    The author took the foreigner population i.e. Non resident + PR = 1.67+0.52 = 2.19 mil and divide by the citizen population (3.41mil). Maths fail! With this wrong calculation and headline, the rest of the article do not serve any other purpose.
    Please correct it!

  2. LOL..this article at the end did not sum up any solutions to the already common issues in everywhere. This Article is here written for the sake of posting to make you read about it yea? since its this are hot issues around us since long long ago.

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