Is expensive HDB flats a cause for the low TFR in Singapore?

Robin Low
3 min readAug 25, 2022

The TFR (or TPFR — total period fertility rate) is an index of fertility that measures annual number of births per thousand population.

Singapore’s TFR is 1.14 births per woman, one of the lowest in the world. And this is often attributed to later marriage and child bearing.

I have recently met some classmates that are going to be grandfathers, and some who are already grandfathers. I thank for for their contribution to increase the population of Singapore, and one thing of note, for the cases I know, my friend’s kids have all bought their Condos in their 20’s and are having their kids in their 20's.

I also have many other friends who got married early in their lives and have kids in their 20’s, but their kids now are not married. So I decided to take them out for coffee to find out the reasons why are some younger Singaporeans not getting married early.

TFR and population growth is a hot topic in Singapore. I do not agree with the government’s policy of importing massive amounts of people to the country as it dilutes the national identity (if we have any left…)

This unnatural population growth fuels inflation and causes inequality to get worse, and already, many Singaporeans are struggling to make ends meet. The government is increasing GST, making it even harder for people with low income to make ends meet, and they have to rely on subsidies to get by, often falling through the cracks as the scope for the subsidies are pretty narrow.

So why can’t Singaporeans have more babies?

Looking at the Singapore system, our males serve NS for 2 years, delaying their education and career. As Asians, we are brought up in a way that marriage comes after we are financially stable — enough money to fund a really expensive wedding, enough money to buy housing and have stable income.

So, it is not a surprise that Singaporeans get married later in their lives.

The trend of million dollar HDB flats seems to be getting common. We see a transaction a week for a HDB flat to exceed $1M, and the prices of new HDB flats shooting up.

In 2000, my mom bought a new HDB flat for $280,000 in Toa Payoh, and today, a similar…

Robin Low

Author, Traveler, Innovator. Focuses on Social Impact and Innovation.