SINGAPORE: Singapore's resident Total Fertility Rate (TFR) fell to its lowest at 1.22 in 2009. This is in line with the general trend of higher singlehood rates and later marriages.
The "Population in Brief 2010" publication also noted that marriages between citizens and non-citizens have gone up.
Singaporeans are having fewer children. The National Population Secretariat said this might have to do with the global recession in late 2008.
It added that the impact was smaller compared to previous economic downturns.
This perhaps explains the lowest TFR of 1.22 last year.
The Chinese continued to have the lowest TFR followed by Indians and Malays.
The rate for Malays showed the most significant decline over the past decade.
The median age of citizen mothers at first birth increased from 28.6 years in 1999 to 29.6 years in 2009.
The decline was more pronounced among the younger cohorts aged 30-39 years.
Based on current trends, the National Population Secretariat said this group is less likely to achieve an average of two children by the time they reach 40-49 years old.
Overall, the fertility rates for the prime childbearing age of 20-34 years declined between 1999 and 2009.
The peak childbearing age group also shifted from 25-29 to 30-34 years.
The low TFR may also be due to more Singaporeans staying single.
Last year, of those aged 30 to 34, 42 per cent of men remained single, up from 33 percent ten years ago.
Likewise, 30 percent of women remained single compared to 22 percent in 1999.
Singlehood rates were the highest among males with below secondary educational qualifications and among females with university qualifications.
The secretariat added that those who marry are doing so later.
More are also marrying foreigners from around Asia.
The general marriage rate for male citizens dropped from 53 per 1,000 unmarried males in 1999 to 42 per 1,000 unmarried males in 2009.
Similarly, marriage rates for female citizens also fell from 56.0 to 38.2 over the same period.
The NPS said between 1999 and 2009, the median age of citizens at first marriage increased by one and a half years from 28.4 to 29.9 years for males, and from 25.9 to 27.4 years for females.
Proportionately, more Singaporeans are marrying non-citizens.
Such marriages increased by 10 per cent over the past decade from 31 per cent in 1999 to 41 per cent in 2009.
In particular, close to 80 per cent of such marriages were between Singapore men and foreign brides.
The majority of non-citizen spouses came from Asia, although non-citizen grooms came from more diverse regions. - CNA/vm By Claire Huang