Thursday, March 31, 2011

BIRTH - So be children!

It is time that the Singapore authorities take the bull by the horns and slow the country's demographic decline. But how to encourage Singaporeans to have more children? Political power is confronted with this puzzle for a long time. The problem occurred in 1983 when the fertility rate has sunk to 1.61 children per woman.

Seven years ago, that rate was 2.1, at a level just sufficient to replace the population. Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had then told Singaporeans that they had a "duty" to have children, otherwise the state's economy would deteriorate. To encourage more educated women to procreate, measures have been implemented, such as tax liens or priority enrollment for their children to school.

In 2000, the new Prime Minister then announced a series of measures. Goh Chok Tong distributed a birth grant of up to $ 1 500, and granted maternity leave of eight weeks. Better: he personally expressed his joy of husband, father and grandfather. But this attempt to procreate more Singaporeans failed, the government recognized that it was unable to raise the birthrate.

In 2004, while the fertility rate had dropped to 1.26, mothers were granted maternity leave increased to twelve weeks, subsidies for child care costs, two days off for sick child, a tax cut Employment of domestic and a premium of birth upgraded. In 2009, the fertility rate rose to 1.22, its lowest level ever, even though preliminary estimates indicate an even lower rate for the year 2010.

It is generally accepted that the more a country becomes richer, its birth rate falls. But some studies show that in countries that exceed a certain threshold of development, the trend may reverse. Parents then feel they can afford to have more children without worrying about the future of those they already have.

This is the case in countries like Sweden, Norway or France, where the fertility rate exceeds 1.8. In Singapore, we can obtain such a result by a program that would build the Workfare Babyfare [aid device for use], except that it would be a salary supplement of about 1 000 dollars for parents who work and raise three children or more.

Distribute monthly installments Babyfare mean parents that this money is not a "reward" or a "subsidy to the baby," but a friendly gesture of the state, which recognizes the sacrifice and financial stress that represents maintenance a large family. In France, the state gives 750 per month to parents who take unpaid parental leave after the birth of their third child.

In addition to this replacement income, another measure has been proven in other countries is heavily subsidized childcare funding. This is the case in Sweden where parents pay only 11% of the actual cost of the crib and never more than 3% of their monthly income for custody of their baby.

Nothing of the kind in Singapore, where cribs cost between 550 and 1000 dollars per month and where government subsidies do not exceed $ 300. Knowing that parents make about 2700 dollars a month and spend between 10 and 30% of their income on child care, the expense is enormous. Of course, the pro-natalist policies are expensive.

In 2009, Sweden spent 2% of GDP by 0.8% in nurseries and parental leave. By comparison, spending in Singapore [1.6 billion] for such measurements is only 0.6% of GDP. If our country wants to find ways to defuse what experts call the "demographic time bomb", he may want to ask the right questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment