Average size of Singapore household shrinks

A family gathers for dinner

SINGAPORE : The size of the average Singapore household has shrunk, according to latest population figures.

At the same time, the growth in the number of permanent residents (PRs) and non—residents has also slowed down.

Households with three or fewer persons constituted a growing share of resident households, according to the Population Trends 2010 publication.

The proportion of households with two to three persons increased from 36 per cent in 2000 to nearly 41 per cent in 2009.

The proportion of one—person households also went up from 8.2 per cent in 2000 to more than 10 per cent in 2009.

Paulin Tay Straughan, an associate professor of sociology at National University of Singapore, said: "First is the nuclearisation of the family, and this is a trend that we have observed for some time. And this means that when children get married, they move out — they form their own households.

"The proportion of singles have grown, so that is one. And the other, of those who are married, those with no children, the proportion of that has gone up as well. When the household size is small, then the immediate concern is the availability of social support, because in Singapore, we have always depended on the family to take care of vulnerable members, young children as well as aged members. "

The publication also states that the proportion of resident households staying in condominiums and private apartments has risen over the years.

It has risen to some 10 per cent last year, up from 6.3 per cent in 2000.

The proportion of resident households staying in five—room or larger HDB flats also increased, from about 24 per cent in 2000 to nearly 27 per cent in 2009.

But the proportion of resident households staying in one— to three—room HDB flats dropped between 2000 and 2009.

According to the report, home ownership remained relatively high among resident households, despite a slight drop in ownership rate in recent years from 92 per cent in 2000 to 89 per cent last year.

The growth in the number of PRs in Singapore has slowed. The number of PRs grew by 1.5 per cent this year, down from at least 6 per cent growth each year between 2005 and 2009.

Growth in the number of non—residents also slowed to 4.1 per cent, down from the peaks of 15 per cent in 2007 and 19 per cent in 2008.

On the other hand, the number of Singapore citizens grew by 0.9 per cent between 2009 and 2010. The publication said this is fairly consistent with the annual growth rate of 0.8 to 1.1 per cent between 2005 and 2009.

Singapore’s total population was 5.08 million as at end—June.

There were 1.31 million non—resident foreigners and 3.77 million Singapore residents.

Of these, 3.23 million are Singapore citizens, whereas about half a million are permanent residents. — CNA/fa/ms