updated 10 Apr 2012, 10:29
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Tue, Apr 10, 2012
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Keen on kids, but concerns remain for most
by Pamela Chow

MOST young couples here are keen on having children but are held back by practical concerns, a non-profit group has found from its focus groups.

They want to save up to provide the best for their kids and fear a lack of childcare support. Women are also concerned about being disadvantaged in their careers after pregnancy. They also want to enjoy life as a couple.

Only a few were unsure if they wanted children, as they were afraid of what parenthood entailed or were comfortable with their lifestyle.

The non-profit group, I Love Children, organised the focus groups, comprising 50 people aged 21 to 39, in the third quarter of last year, to better understand what deters couples from having children.

Associate Professor Paulin Tay Straughan, a sociologist at the National University of Singapore, said: “Young Singaporeans get married and aspire (to have children), but they wait because, to them, there are more important things, such as career aspirations. There is a misperception that whenever they’re ready, it will happen.

“Young Singaporeans must strive for a good work-life balance. Without this, the cost is tremendous to both the individual and the state.”

Singapore’s total fertility rate fell from 1.28 in 2008 to an all-time low of 1.23 last year. The birth rate is expected to dip further as this year, the Year of the Tiger, is tradition- ally considered inauspicious by the Chinese. The last three Tiger years (1998, 1986 and 1974) registered a fall in birth rates of 7 per cent.

I Love Children vice-president Peter Lim said: “The findings have brought to the surface the concerns of young couples, giving us the impetus to take on the challenge of helping them overcome these concerns.”

The group plans to conduct a larger survey later this year of 1,000 respondents to glean more insights into their perceptions, needs and concerns about parenthood. It further aims to help enhance bonding between husbands and wives by organising activities such as movie dates and seminars.

In May, it will launch an interactive website, Maybe Baby Parenthood Portal, which features information on government incentives for parents, and helps women track their fertility cycle.

The group also gave its I Love Children Bus a makeover and relaunched it at the Chingay Parade last Saturday. The bus, which offers young couples information and advice on child-raising, will visit locations such as shopping malls and community centres from next month.

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readers' comments
We have been looking into micro findings but what about the macro findings like housing?

1) Consider the cost of owning a flat where CPF fully wiped out by high HDB prices, both couples must work... to sustain the installment.

2) If both have to work, the child have to be looked after by mother in Law, maid... no values and worst, dicipline. Cannot commit, so let's wait.

3) It was easier to start a family when entry prices of HDB were much lower between 1970s to 1980's, people have lesser to worry, that's when we still enjoyed healthy birthrates.

4) If a couple genuinely wants children, they can still afford to have a choice to live a simpler life with the house easily sustained through a single income.
Posted by Starter on Mon, 22 Feb 2010 at 12:01 PM

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