17 March 2011

What Constitutes a Strong Citizen Core?

Singapore should have a "strong citizen core".  This means citizens forming more than half the population, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng.

As at 30 June 2000, citizens formed 74.1 per cent of the population, 4,027,900 people.

As at 30 June 2005, citizens formed 72.2 per cent of the population of 4,265,800 people.

As at 30 June 2010, citizens formed 63.6 per cent of the population of 5,076,700 people.

Coincidentally or otherwise, the 3,230,700 citizens in June 2010 will form just about half of the 6.5 million population that the Government has said that Singapore eventually needs.

As Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan put it: "Do we need a larger population?  Most definitely...

"A larger population and greater economic activity will bring about greater buzz, vibrancy and energy, which in turn will attract more people and new opportunities.

"Major global cities like London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong have populations ranging from about seven million to 12 million.  So, too, newly emerging cities like Chengdu and Mumbai.  These cities are abuzz with life and vibrancy.

"Singapore must remain competitive as a city in which people want to work and live."

London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong may have large populations in which foreigners form significant percentages or even the majority.  But they are cities within much larger countries, not city states.

Can Singapore retain its identity when only half of its population are citizens?


1.  "Singapore's 'strong citizen core' defined" The Straits Times (26 Feb 2011).

2.  Department of Statistics Population Trends 2010.

3.  Department of Statistics refined the population estimates from 2003 onwards to exclude Singapore citizens and permanent residents who had been away from Singapore for a continuous period of 12 months or more as at the reference period.

4.  Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development "Why We Need 6.5 Million People" Petir Mar/Apr 2007.

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