June 25, 2008 / 8:14 AM / 10 years ago

Foreigners bolstering Singapore's birth rate: report

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Foreigners are providing a boost to Singapore’s lagging birth rate, with one in four babies born to expatriate fathers in the last five months, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The Singapore government has for years been trying to boost the city-state’s birth rate -- one of the lowest in the world-- by encouraging educated young people in particular to have children and providing incentives ranging from tax breaks to “baby bonuses” to couples with kids.

A total of 16,232 babies were born in Singapore between January and May, with about 25 percent having foreign fathers and about 36 percent with foreign mothers, The Straits Times said quoting statistics from the immigration authority.

Figures for babies whose parents are both foreigners were not immediately available.

Babies born to Malaysian parents topped the list, followed by babies born to parents from the Indian subcontinent.

The Singapore government actively courts foreigners to live and work in the city in a bid to increase and diversify its workforce. The land scarce Southeast Asian city has a population size of 4.6 million and hopes to increase that figure to 6.5 million in the coming decades.

Reporting by Melanie Lee, editing by Miral Fahmy

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