Singapore dating culture down side to consolidating bills

Singapore’s total fertility rate (TFR) needs to be 2.1 children per woman in order for its population to be self-sustaining.

At present, it is significantly below this, being 1.20 in 2011 and 1.29 in 2012 (a five-year high regarded as a blip because 2012 was a Dragon year in the Chinese zodiac).

Marriage rates are falling too, with decreases in the number of people between 15 – 44 who are married, and an increase in the median age of new brides in 2013 (27.4 years) and grooms (29.9 years) .

The reasons for this are frequently debated, but for many the pressure on Singaporeans to succeed professionally and financially are often seen as the root cause, as young professionals wait until they’ve established their careers before they start to think about a family.

The government also takes the view that having the nuclear family unit as the apex of the social structure is a way of ironing out ethnic differences in the country—the family as an ideal is something that all of Singapore’s ethic groups aspire to.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many young people in Singapore regard dating as a serious business, but at the same time a similar sort of uncertainty as to that which surrounds questions of Singaporean identity also affects the world of dating and relationships.

This is one of the many paradoxes around dating and marriage—most Singaporeans hold the view that marriage is the state to which all should aspire, and yet growing numbers remain unmarried.

For many, what has come to be known as the ‘checklist syndrome’ is to blame.Young Singaporeans, raised on ideas of high achievement, material wealth and upward mobility set criteria that their prospective partner needs to meet, yet increasingly it is thought that they simply set the bar too high, creating unrealistic standards that very few people could attain.There is added pressure on marriage because cohabitation is not common in Singapore.Marriage as an institution continues to be valued by men and women, young and old and across all ethnic groups in Singapore, and is considered a significant milestone in life.Additionally, despite the fact that marriage rates are falling and people are getting married later, there is nevertheless a prevailing sense that marriage is the ‘normal’ state of affairs and that people who don’t marry have missed an important part of life, and although there is no open discrimination against unmarried people, anecdotally there is often the sense that those who don’t marry are atypical, and perhaps out of mainstream life.They have a fundamental belief in ideas of equality and empowerment, yet the majority would still prefer their wives to stay at home to raise children.

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