News and views from an unique perspective

High cost of living the key reason behind Singaporeans not having babies

Posted by temasektimes on August 16, 2012

Well, I think cost is the main problem and cause of it.

1. Wife is pregnant and need to see doctor for the check up. Every visit will be hundreds. Can this cost be taken care by government?

2. When giving birth, the cost again. Is government able to absorb cost of giving birth? All cost at public hospital is being absorb. 100 %. Even in icu For private hospital, it could be 70-80% being absorb.

3. Education. Can government take the cost of child from nursery up to secondary? Or even up to poly or even university? Seems like our education funds cannot be paid for a lot of things and teachers will ask me for cash for this and that ie printing fees, accessment paper fees etc. even for cca, because outside instructor are hired, I am required to pay a fee for that. If things are at default, parents are not required to pay a single cent, things might be different.

My dad used to tell me how he maintain the family back in the 1980s. Where he earn $1200 and able to pay for hdb, my education etc etc. but is it possible now? Now I feel life is difficult when I am earning $3000. Indeed, cost of living is different.

Size of hdb. For a 4room hdb flat, wonder how big can the family nucleus be? Considering about elder parents, and that leave only one room for kids. And that one room, able to take 2-3 kids sleeping and studying? Seems like hdb already preplanned our family nucleus for us.

Wonder if famiy nucleus can be bigger if our 4 room hdb flat cost 150k? I paid 325k for one. And now I need to be always being in the work force and work my way to repay it in 30 years.

Think there is a whole string of problems which we had previously and now leading to our low birth rates issues. Starting a family is easy but maintaining one is difficult. Even time is required to coach the kid to study as nowadays, school give a lot of work for parents to interact with kids. So my nighttime is all for kids as I believe since I bring him to this world, I need to teach him to be a useful person.

There might be a lot of grant etc but how many knows and bother to apply them? If things are at default, all taken care of by government, things might be different.

Enough said. Let’s see what our government and the cabinet ministers will do for our Singapore future inhabitants.


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.


83 Responses to “High cost of living the key reason behind Singaporeans not having babies”

  1. You surely put forward some very useful info, but the other question one needs to ask is : are the Malays very rich?

    • sarahxskies said

      I’m sorry but I find your comment very offensive and condescending. For you to look down on the Malays and assume that they aren’t rich? Just crawl back into your little nutshell.

      • Independent said

        I think u r not reading it right. Think he meant malays are Singaporeans too but they seem to be able to raise more kids. Are they all richer than the average Singaporeans? If no, then it could be a matter of choice for those who choose not to have kids or it could be the latter’s kiasu parent behaviour that makes early childhood education v ex for themselves.

      • I think he was refering to this piece of articles

      • sarahxskies said

        Thanks but I’ve already read that article. It has nothing to do with their income but their values. Poh Tiong Ho made a very generalized statement which, to me, seems condescending.

      • Citizen said

        I would say Malays are more prudence in their finances which is why they are producing more. When u dine out in restaurants or queue up for ToTo/4D, look around and you’ll hardly see them. Also, i think most of them dun buy cars.

  2. Citizen said

    Point 1,2,3 should be the responsibility of the parents. Not everything also ask ah gong to pay. He didnt kiam anyone of us leh.

    I suggest fertility treatment should be heavily subsidized for all citizens as plenty of people wanted kids but unable to have it due to stress. Also, HDB price needs to be slashed by at least 50% for pure citizens!

    • The Gardener said

      You want to be Ah Gong and collect my CPF & Income Tax. Not ah Gong pay then who pay. In Australia, why I go hospital there no need to pay.
      Why are? Stupid Citizen.

      • Citizen said

        Migrate to Australia lah who’s stopping u?
        Pay CPF and Income Tax only then expect expect everything else free ah. Siao gao!

    • Steve said

      Citizen, are you parent? How many kids you have? are you rich? you pay tax? you contribute to CPF? you got warded in hosipitals before? How much you earn per month? Are you True Singaporean, utmost importance? Really make me “boil” up to read yours comment.

    • Lenny said

      quite a few of them rent their entire units out and sleep in tents along changi/east coast/west coast etc..etc…

    • Yeb said

      Well yes you can say that literally, he don’t kiam us anything. But if you broaden your views a little bit more.
      You will see that he draws out ‘unfair’ salary from US taxpayers, and he is partially responsible for the high price in HDB flats from reasons many have stated before, i’m not going to state it again.

      So technically, he does owe us singapore something. We should be working hard no doubt, we shouldn’t always be spoonfed no doubt. But all we’re asking is for him to throw us a dogbone here.

      • Citizen said

        Yeb, I agree with you. I am also horrified by the FT swarming in and sky-rocketing HDB flats but this is not the focus of this article.

        The main point here is to ask govt for FREE this and FREE that.

        What I mentioned was, it is too much to ask the govt to give FREE pregnancy follow-up, FREE baby delivery, and FREE education until sec sch as the author suggest -> Do you agree with this?

      • PAP deception said

        Defence has a 12 $Billion budget. Are we in danger of going to war ? So far any neighbourhood tension ? So why not divert 30 to 40 % Defence budget to solve the TFR problem in peace time ?

        At the end of the day, it is a political ploy of the PAP buggers.

        Ask ourselves who tend to gain from influx of foreigners by the millions ?
        GDP goes up, PAPpies’ pay go up, PAP cronies who do business using cheap foreign labour make more money.
        Handout citizenships to foreigners before 2016……who will continue to have lion’s share of the votes ?

    • aabbcc said

      there percentage of income tax is so high. Really you should just migrate .No one is stopping you further more can also take out CPF.

    • LOL said

      Citizen, ur comments suggest that u are recently wed and stressed up about buying a house. At e same time u r stressed coz u cant get a kid until now n its expensive to get a check up on ur fertility problem. Hence u got a grudge on parents n refused to understand others problem as a whole. They r stating real problems faced by e families with kids in Singapore which is a response to e govt plea to hv more children. However, your remarks is solely based on your own person emotions due to your own unfortunate fate. Your immature selfish thoughts are not needed here.

      • Citizen said

        foolish ideas are also not required. author here is asking for free medical and free education. budget drop from sky? u go volunteer for medical staff/teacher for free lor. When there are more people like u then things become free.

  3. aabbcc said

    No one owe you a living. Dont make babies and think of your future then dont complain when you are old and frail that here is no one for you.

    • FUCKERFT said

      shut la FT

      • aabbcc said

        i am not a FT and i also voted for opposition.Rather spending the time to complain kpkb on the things i cant change. i would rather shape how i want my life to be.
        Look at the watch the time is not waiting..

    • Yeb said

      Easy to say that when we’re born, no one owe us anything. But strangely at the same time….. we suddenly owe Singapore 2 years of our NS life the very second we’re born in Singapore. Hippocrit much?

      • Dr Seuss said

        why don’t you just shut your filthy stinky piece of shit mouth up

      • Yeb said

        Wow look who’s the one having all the filthy stinky shits coming out of his mouth? Need i say more? pfft.
        By the way, i like feeding trolls if you know what i mean.

    • fuck u shut up go back to ur cage ,we are solving our problems ,who are you now trying to teach ur father to fuck ur mother .

  4. Lenny said

    Absolutely right. To add to high cost of living the PAP also depressed local wages by allowing too many FTs into Singapore. It “elitist” (a.k.a. “pick-the-winner” policy) education system made education more difficult and expensive (with private tuition and preschool). Depleting Singaporeans svaing by selling them over-priced and “shrinking” HDB flats made the problem worse.

    Conclusion: Singapore’s low TFR was caused by PAP policies.

    Solution: REGIME CHANGE. The PAP must be voted out of Parliament in GE2016.

    • ckcvincent said

      yes. desperately need a change.

    • justice bao said

      .Absolutely agree.Nothing short of a regime change will save us.But,don’t think that would come about through the ballot box.PAP had already preempted that.Because it had created a B team aka WP…..and WP job is to spoil the chances of genuine oppositions.WP would contest a three corner fight wherever an opposition has a chance.And it would pit a 3rd rate team wherever it can muscle it’s way thuggishly browbeating other political parties in oppostion.That is the foreseeable future in GE2016.

      We must find other solutions

  5. flying in your face said

    Gosh. Want a crutch mentality. Please don’t be a parent. You’ll be propagating and breeding handicaps who constantly moan and groan about what others are not Fong for them when they can jolly well do something for themselves. Let your pathetic dependency mentality live, and die with you!

  6. Snoopy Says said

    My 4rm resale flat cost a whopping $421K! Why resale? Becos can’t get a new flat. Tried to seek help from MP outta desperation, only to have him ask why we r rushing to start a family. WTF, I am 36 years old already! We got rejected by HDB 6 times trying to get a BTO! Our resale flat wiped out all our savings. So, what is really wrong here???

    • Steve said

      @Snoopy Says, fully undertstand your situation and your unhappiness.

    • Hayden said

      Which MP says that “why rushing to start a family”? Someone with the right frame of mind wont say such a thing.

    • Independent said

      But u r 36, not fresh grad leh. Shld be able to afford resale mah. Let the younger couples have their btos lah.

      • Snoopy Says said

        Like many Singaporeans (I mean true Singaporeans!) I study hard and work hard to save up so that I can have a home when I am ready to start a family. What makes u think that I dun deserve a BTO? I have to fork out my entire savings becos I am 36 years old, not a fresh grad anymore? How many fresh grad can affort to own a BTO at their age??? One day u will go through what I have gone through. Have a heart.

      • Independent said

        Paiseh I don’t need to go through what u have to go thru. I’m younger and already have enuff for bto, resale, condo or ec. By ur age, I will aim higher that’s all. Maybe u work hard but not smart. Seriously 36 liao still need bto fr govt…really awkward. My 36 yr old friend already got a penthouse. U can afford resale lah. Think u just trying ur luck with bto so can sell and earn more later right? Lol.

    • mel said

      I think housing the new citizens is their number 1 priority right now.

    • Snoopy Says said

      I think people like u r the real arrogent one. Not everyone is born into a well-doing family. Juz becos u r doing well dun mean u can put others down or look down on others who have commitments or sick folks to take care of. So what if I am 36? That is not your freaking biz. People like u dun deserve respect. Did u really chose to be alone forever or no women can put up with your arrogent and disrespect for others?

      • Duncan Koh said

        Hi Snoopy, forget about it. Some people are born with a pair of 狗眼看人低.

      • Independent said

        Poor assumption. I wasn’t born into a well to do family at all. My family was bankrupt lol. I put mysekf thru jc and uni while earning money for my family. I studied hard and worked hard for what I have today and yes, I do look down on u bcos u all only know how to complain and whine. I doubt u work hard or smart cos u spent all ur time blaming govt, society, weather, bad luck but urself.

      • Snoopy Says said

        Thx for reminding me, Duncan =)
        A person who dun have a heart won’t feel for others. Selfish people like him might have thrown his folks at the old age home while he travel ard the world enjoying his care-free lifestyle.

      • Independent said

        Another poor assumption. To take gd care of my folks, I’ve also ensured that I have sound financial planning so that I could take care of them when they need me. By complaining abt the govt and not working on improving ur situation, u r doing ur family and old folks a disservice instead. How could they depend on u? Are u going to pacify them by telling them u’ve vented ur frustrations towards the govt thru TT and have voted for the opposition? I hope u realise by now that whinning doesn’t get u anywhere. Only realistic actions on ur part do. It’s ur life. U decide. It’s a realistic world. No one will have a heart for u if all u do is complain and daydream.

      • Independent said

        Anyway I notice most losers and whiners like u always jump to conclusions that others are better than u cos they are born rich. U fail to realise its bcos u didn’t work hard or smart in life when u r a kid, student or now as an adult. A diploma grad fren of mine even knows how to make use of her sales pitch to sell more properties and earn at least 5k monthly. U leh? Y can’t u? No skills or talent? Or simply unwilling to? There are many means and ways to earn that extra dollar. Have u even done ur best? Lol.

      • Snoopy Says said

        Extreme arrogance cannot be cured. U r no better by assuming that those who post their comments here are complaining and whinning. TT is a place for sharing views, not a place to lodge complain. A person who claimed to have studied hard actually judge someone juz by a few sentence she posted here? Have a taste of your own medicine. By the way, I definately did not have wrong assumption on your extreme arrogance.

  7. mahbok tan said

    That somebody tot that he is the “special one” – arrogant !!!

    Then preplanned with his merry men , all hdb flat shrink coz family become smaller ( smaller family = less population rite ).

    Then hor can give excuse that need immigration policy to be more effective / productive and create-thief…..!!!

    All this preplanned only have the main Agenda – GREED to make BIG money BIG MONEY as all the machineries that make money have the “special one ” name on it and all his cronies……!!!!

    But hor he forget the Special One is not him….stupid , arrogant and greedy old man….go go … go to ur exclusive condo no:6….!!!!

  8. Populist said

    The average household size in Afghanistan is 7-8 persons while the average household Income there is only around US$300. Therefore cost of living cannot be the main reason. I think the main reason for the low birthrate is the lifestyle choice and cultural value.

    • Cavin said

      Think donkey years back average household in singapore is also US300. But that is without television set time and by the sun set, there is only one closed door activity to be done is to make babies. It can be 7-8 or even 13(my dad’s family). And that time, the wanton mee is only 10/20cents(I think).

      • mel said

        You should go to Afghanistan and see why they spend a lot of time making babies and also, see why so many kids and women are begging in the streets.

    • aabbcc said

      i agree. everyone want their time and lifestyle no ready to commit.

    • Independent said

      Totally agree. It’s lifestyle choice. Even grandparents today are less willing to help take care of grandchildren so maids or infant care centres will further add to costs.

  9. Steve said

    The problem here in Singapore is that the poor and rich pay the same cost for having a babies and nuturing your love child… agreed? So the poor are careful to have more babies, and the rich are too busy to have more baby, they want to enjoy their life.

    The Government have lame excuse and telling us they have make effort in policy to help Singaporean to have more baby, and their policy fail and yet did not agreed.

    Denying is the game and we Singaporean had to be blame for not helping the government to stop infux of FT, you get my point here guys….

  10. singaporean said

    spot on cavin…..Clap Clap..u took the words right of the horses mouth.
    As much as i respect LKY to transforming SG to what it is today. I hate it when he he recently threathened us “if u do not reproduce we will still need immigrants”..its easier said then done…making a baby takes only a fw mintues. but the process of bringing the child into the world, giving them good support to bring the family and nation forward is very very costly..i tink the ministers shld look into the REAL issues which im sure they are already aware of, recity them..Dun give crappy interviews and publish it ur ‘Shit Times”pls…
    Ministers, work for ur money pls…fix the problem,,cannot be solved overtime, but not too long……Ur a public servant to serve the people of Singapore…DO NOT FORGET THAT…
    Pls dun sit in parliament and wayang..speaking good english in parliament…we dun need to c drama..we need solutions…
    Its a sincere cry for help.

  11. Cute said

    Visited my friend in the hospital who just gave birth to a baby. Looking at the baby, suddenly I felt sorry for him. Born in Singapore and not in a rich family, his life will be ….study like hell when young….working like hell to survive till old age… is just pay and pay for a flat, bills and tax……hai… sad.

    • Independent said

      So u r looking forward to a life where studying is a breeze and working is also a breeze? Lol. U wait long long ok.

      • 1 said

        There is definitely something between “study like hell” and “studying is a breeze”. There are shades of grey between extremes. Hope you are not a policy maker.

      • Independent said

        It takes an extreme post to elicit an extreme reply. Hope u are not a policy maker too cos u can’t read between the lines and appreciate the nuances of language. Talk abt shades of grey lol.

  12. MT said

    It’s a different world today and the low TFRs is just our way to cope with the changing world. I was born in the 60s. My parents have 4 kids and a elderly mother to take care. That’s 7 people in a 3 room flat. It was squeezy and no privacy whatsoever. My parents are away all day earning a modest salary to feed 7 mouths. My granny took care of our meals while my mum goes to work. We got no tuition and we all go to the neighbourhood school. My siblings and I struggled through school. I also recall when I was 5y.o, my request to buy a new dress was turned down because my parents don’t have extra cash for that. That’s an early lesson on living from hand to mouth. That’s what 99% of the people in the 60s do. Fast forward 40+ years, is this the lifestyle we want today? Not for me!!!! I agree with the author. If the govt don’t want to contribute to the cost of raising kids, stop telling people to have kids, period!

  13. Cavin said

    If We still dont change and follow back to the rules orginated from donkey years, then we are going to “fold up”

    Of cause government doesnt kiam us, but to resolve the issues of fertility, we are being “slowed down or even stopped” by the issues of money/problems which i brought up.

    Well, i know point 1,2,3 are responsibilities of parents but if these are in place, will it resolve the problem at this point of time? Maybe bringing the % up by 20-30%?

    i remember about the recent news of quadruplets in singapore, so who will be having the hard time feeding and paying off diapers/school/medical/milk and first of most, the ICU bills?

    I dont know or dont want to know how much it is going to cost the government(OR US) to implented this? Maybe by then, our GST will be 10-12%. Else where these money is coming from?

    Are grants for giving birth really attractive? Maybe anyone can shed some truth in the babybonus? How much cash is actually received?

    Saw also recent discussion about “affordability” of our HDB in one worklife. REALLY is that you need to work one lifetime just to pay off the HDB flat. And worst is that it is not from resale market, but bought raw and brand new from HDB. Guess no one know what is the actual cost of building a HDB unit?

    I am still looking things at a micro view, with my life and family in sight, Who else isnt working hard for their family? Cant even have time to look at things on a macro view!


    • Yeb said

      Bro, i get where you’re coming from, and i also get where the naysayers are coming from.

      But i only have one advise for you, we’re now living in Singapore as a Citizen and there ain’t much we can do in our lifetime to fix this undying situation. So we just have got to buck up, be stronger, stay inspirational and struggle this challenge.

      At the end of the day, we will be stronger…

      • Cavin said

        AGREE TOO! thats why i or we need to work our ass off, and what i can plan and think of now is to help my boy to buy a house in my lifetime. The rest is not to my control…

        What doesnt kills me, makes me stronger!

      • Dr Seuss said

        Easy for you to say be strong , come back and tell me be strong when you are 55 with no jobs , mortgages to pay thru the ass ,

      • Yeb said

        Well it’s easier to say you’re weak ain’t it now? You’re doing that now ya know?
        Coz you seem to only agree that you can’t do shit about anything even if you seem to be suffering. Well good luck to you. You will NEED it.

  14. Hime said

    I so agree. And these are costs u won’t know of until u have a kid urself.

  15. Dr Seuss said

    Cavin is spot on and If you don’t agree what he have written , I think you are in a deep state of delusion and denial ,

  16. Richard said

    All they think is profit.Pls think of non profit but not loss making for the gov.Just sell the HDB flat cheap like 4 rms $250k and 3 rms $150.But they had to sell back to HDB same price.

  17. PatrickReddevil said

    I totally agree with Cavin. If you look at a slightly bigger spectrum of the problem, from baby issues to elderly issues, on one hand encouraged to have more babies, on the other hand have to support the elders. Both ends are deep end of the pool. It’s an extremely tedious process.

    I have (3) school-going children and a pair of ageing parents, a typical SG family nucleus, it is really tough to “live up” to expectations. If the authority can provide more monetary support from education & medical to childcare and eldercare. We will be able to provide a better quality of life for our family… Of course the governemt don’t owe us, but they need to take a much more practical approach to nurture the future….

    Netizens who are in the same shoes, have you tried saving for rainy days? It is absolutely impossible. So we will never reach the bank of the pool… but we will gradually drown…

  18. HK said

    FYI, my friend from Hong Kong said that their citizen who give birth in Public Hospital only need to pay for the number of days that stay which is around HK$250 per day (Class B1 standard) the rest is paid by gov including doc fees, operation cost, medicine, etc and even if need to “C-Sect”, that means if base on natural birth which staying for about 2-3 days in hospital, they only pay around HK$750 total bill, that is around SGD$120!!!!

    Can this happen in our Public Hospital like KK, SGH, TTSH, etc….????

    • Independent said

      Wow wow. So gd!!! What r u waiting for???? Be hk citizen!!!

      • HK said

        I also want, but first you must be able to find a job there and the employer are willing to apply work visa for you, and you have to stay there for 7 years before you can apply for PR…….normally HK prefer “Ang Mo” than Singaporeans………..not like our gov, everyone also take!

      • MT said

        The key word here is “7yrs”. At least HK is doing something to protect their people. In SG you can apply for PR in less than 2 yrs here. See the difference?

  19. Independent said

    If there are grants and u don’t bother to read up or apply for them, it’s entirely ur fault. Who can u blame? It shows that u can do without grants actually. Also I don’t have kids not bcos I have no means like the article mentioned. I prefer to travel the world and be more carefree.

  20. sad state said

    Everyone made their decision and they are completely happy with 0,1 or 2 kids. Stop conveniently attributing blame.

    If cost of living goes down, you’ll be richer, but knowing that you’re selfish bastards, you will not have another baby.

  21. desmond said

    I think this post wasn’t that much of a complain. I myself come from a working class family background. Sometimes it’s really not up to the person to decide what kind of a life he/she wants to lead even if he wants to and is willing to put in the effort for it. This is because of the situation that the person is in.

    Even if time and effort is put in, but the situation doesn’t allows it, things wont go right, money can’t be made, and a better future can’t happen.

  22. Ben said

    I got two kids with me , one primary 6 , one sec 1 . Wife work part time in order to take cars of the kids . Kids sch everday 6x2x24 +transport 2.4x 2×24 , cca many lonang must pay this n that . Sch special funny rules ,always pay this n that .buy different T shirt of three . My kids always back late n struggle n rush for hm work cos of the CCA, , text bk , sch fees .

    HDB every moth $800/- + pub min $240/- per month . sc 69.50 . Phone bill plus plus . Still nvr count in all the F bill like Makan , clothing, my work transport . And i got parent to makan also , Plus plus plus = must die , or pray family member dont fall sick .the med fees like hell .I told my son , nxt time when I am old . Got cancer , pls throw me away, previously my dad in hospital , I paid like hell , what govrt help ? And I told my son please don’t give birth , if u know u struggled for life , why give birth to ppl suffer……..and govrt want us to hv more kids ? Lol 50+ can hand in NRIC

    Earn 3K plus but ……. Bank @&$&@$)&

    • Ben said

      Pray everyday . Pls my employer love me always , pls no FT …in my trade , pls if not ……my family will suffer like hell , I jobless once bf , what town council do to me . .issued lawyer letter to me ….

    • Independent said

      I hope u realise by now that earning 3k plus in our thirties is nothing and u better make plans and work on earning more. In our thirties, we should at least be earning 5k.

      Mod’s note:

      If you are not earning $10k and above when you are in your 30s, you are considered a failure in Singapore nowadays.

      • Independent said

        That’s an exaggeration, mod. 4k will suffice unless u hope to own a car and have three kids plus a maid. Combined income of abt 7/8k will be comfortable.

  23. Chew said

    Boils down to wrong policies in place.

    1. more subsidy should be given for non-working mums instead.
    2. New HDB flats selling prices should not be pegged to market value minus. it should be building cost plus. Current new flats are way over-priced. the so-called subsidy is rendered useless.
    3. regulate pre-school education standards and fees. the gap is too wide, it range from 200 to the thousands. Crazy!
    4. the current policies don’t take care of those in the middle-class. currently alot of help for those household earning less than 2k. and we capped the taxes on those earning big bucks. middle-class, suffer the most! becoming more like thailand already.

    • Independent said

      What is considered middle class? Those earning 3k to 5k or?

    • Independent said

      For pt 3, it’s really the parents who duno how to manage their expectations. If u earn peanuts, then make do with a simple preschool education. Ur child thru ur proper guidance can always do well still in sch later. Y be so kiasu to send them for designer methods classes, piano or ballet lessons??? Live within ur means, Singaporeans. The monkey see monkey do kiasu syndrome is what caused ur downfall and mismanagement in finances. Still expect govt to regulate fees by private sector? For what? It’s u kiasu parents that caused the demand and increase in cost of preschool education. Go study economics ok.

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