SINGAPORE: In a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in Singapore, it was found that 7 in 10 young Singaporeans feel it is “not necessary to get married,” The Straits Times reports.
The goal of the survey, which gathered responses from 2,356 Singapore residents aged 21 to 64 between November and December last year, was to get a sense of what Singaporeans think about issues like “family, well-being, work, and other areas.”
According to the findings, a striking 70% of respondents aged 21 to 34 believe that getting married is not a necessary life step, a sentiment shared by 58% of those aged 35 to 49 and 50% of the 50 to 64 age group.
Similarly, 72% of the youngest cohort feel that having children within marriage is not a requisite, compared to 63% in the middle group and 49% in the oldest group.
The top two reasons among all age groups are:
- They have not met the right person yet.
- They prefer to remain single.
Dr Chew Han Ei, senior research fellow at IPS, explained that the younger generation appears to have a checklist before considering marriage and parenthood.
Dr Chew remarked, “(Young people) almost have checkboxes these days before they can consider marriage and parenthood.”
This checklist includes:
- Having a job.
- Having their own home.
- Having a comfortable life.
- Having the freedom to travel at least twice or thrice a year.
- And well, rest.
Despite these reservations, 68% of the youngest respondents foresee themselves getting married, with 67% expressing a desire to have children.
More women than men think marriage or having children is not necessary
The survey uncovered a gender disparity, with women aged 21 to 49 more likely than men in the same age group to believe that marriage is not necessary.
Young women in the 21 to 34 age bracket also expressed a higher inclination towards the belief that having children is not essential.
Kalpana Vignehsa, an IPS senior research fellow who conducted the poll, shared, “One reason for their disinterest or reluctance that (young women) have shared with me relates to feeling worried that they will be caught in the double bind of not having equal partnership in terms of running the family.”
“They talk about watching mothers burn out from being primarily responsible for the visible and invisible labour of running a family on top of full-time employment, and they aren’t convinced that their male counterparts are ready to be equal partners at home. They have opened themselves more and more to the idea they could find meaning in alternative paths instead.”
Young Singaporeans are lonely and think most of the cost of living
In addition to changing attitudes toward family life, the survey also revealed the younger generation in Singapore is lonely.
Surprisingly, the poll found that young Singaporeans have “higher levels of loneliness” and are concerned most about the cost of living when it comes to social issues.
Respondents aged 21 to 34 are more likely to find it easier to talk to people online and express anxiety about in-person interactions.
Mental health support also emerged as a significant concern, ranking third on the list of social issues for younger respondents.
Dr Chew noted that the older group has a stronger stigma against mental health, possibly due to missed opportunities during the pandemic, such as workplace orientations and interactions.
Regarding work-related concerns, younger respondents are more worried about their work prospects, including desired salary, position, benefits, and working conditions.
A notable finding is that 55% of young respondents would consider moving overseas for work opportunities, indicating a more global perspective on career options.
Despite these challenges, younger respondents are more civically engaged than their older counterparts. This involvement extends to online and offline activities, with the younger group expressing a sense of empowerment to create positive change.
IPS research fellow Wong Chin Yi expressed encouragement at the continued civic engagement of the 21 to 34 age group, even beyond the years of mandatory civic engagement in schools. This suggests that youth continue to play an active role in shaping their community and society.
Although the newer generation has changing priorities, driven by practical considerations and a desire for a well-rounded and fulfilling life, their willingness to extend positive change inspires a future of resilience and progress. /TISG
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