So many studies on aging – never talk about immigration?


By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “Ageing population to drag down S’pore’s annual GDP per capita growth for decades: IPS study” (Today, Jan 19).

It states that “If fertility rates in Singapore remain at current levels, the ageing population will cause a drag of 1.5 percentage points on per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth every year until 2060.”

As to “While immigration has traditionally been a major element in the Republic’s population policies, the authorities have recognised that immigration policy has to be well-calibrated, and is only one measure to mitigate the economics of the ageing population, they said.

There are limits to the extent that immigration can offset the effects of an ageing population, as “immigrants also grow old”” – perhaps we may need to state the obvious – to what extent has our liberal immigration policies contributed to our economic growth?

To put it another way – so many recent studies and commentaries on why we need to raise taxes because we need to spend more with an aging population – may arguably have largely failed to mention the obvious – the impact and implications of our liberal immigration policies.

Uniquely Singapore!



  1. Each immigrant and his spouse typically get their parents and in laws into SG once they are settled comfortably here. Given the high costs of raising kids in SG, most new citizen/PR couples produce only two or three kids. They can’t even replace themselves and will worsen the aging problem in only one generation. Count the no of immigrant couples in SG with six kids (to replace themselves, parents and in-laws). Unless the immigrant wife produces at least seven kids, she is just replacing the six adults in her own household and not helping to compensate for childless SG couples and SG singletons.

  2. The gamen expenditure for subsidise public housing..medical and expansion of infrastructure should had been channel to investment with good return.This amount comes 10 of billion.Why should spend so much? when their own country of birth cant provide them until they seek greener pasture.To bring in immigrant we should follows the old model where only oeople with large X some of money given the residential status.The one we having now only carries luggage with some personnel effect and nothing more..all waiting for pap santa clause to prov8de them.

  3. You are correct that immigration policy is barely mentioned (basically the system is non transparent). I am guessing however that the government is probably biasing towards selecting younger immigrants to address this problem, although of course we don’t have the data to back this hunch up.