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What is Lee Kuan Yew’s view on Fertility and New Immigrants?

THE fertility rate for Singapore Chinese – already the lowest among all races here – slid to 1.02 last year from 1.08 in 2009, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew disclosed on Tuesday night.

Singapore thus needs to remain open to new immigrants, and groups like the clan associations have an important role to play in helping them integrate, he said.

Mr Lee raised the pressing problem of Singapore’s declining birth rate during a dialogue he held with Chinese clan leaders at a gala dinner marking the 25th anniversary of the Singapore Federation of Chinese Clan Associations (SFCCA), an umbrella body for more than 200 clan groups.

His comments came a day after Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng revealed that Singapore’s total fertility rate (TFR) sank to a historic low of 1.16 last year, down from 1.22 in 2009, and way below the replacement level of 2.1.

The low TFR – although a preliminary estimate – remains an issue of concern, with Mr Lee noting on Tuesday night that ‘at these low birth rates, we will rapidly age and shrink’.

TFR measures the average number of children a woman would bear in her lifetime – in this case, a woman resident in Singapore.


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