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Link between unequal benefits for unwed and married mothers and births within marriage

Question

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin
Nominated Member of Parliament

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development

(a) whether the policy of unequal benefits between unwed and married mothers in the past decade has led to

(i) a decline in serial births out of wedlock in Singapore;
(ii) an increase in births within marriage in Singapore;
(iii) an increase in abortions by unwed mothers;
(iv) a decrease in abortions by married mothers; and

(b) what other case studies and alternative options is the Ministry presently exploring that can more effectively incentivise births within marriage.

Written Answer

From 2004 to 2014, the total number of live births in Singapore increased from about 37,000 to just over 42,000 per year. Over the same period, single-parent births registered without the father’s name on the birth certificate ranged between 450 and 560 each year, or about 1% to 1.5% of the total live births.

The number of abortions has declined for both married and unwed females over the past decade. For married females, the figure was 4,538 in 2014, compared to 6,522 in 2004. For unwed females, the number was 3,406 in 2014, compared to 4,857 in 2004.

There could be many reasons behind these trends. It is not possible to pin point a single cause.

The Government is committed to helping Singaporeans achieve their marriage and parenthood aspirations. We will continue to examine how we can support more and earlier marriages, and support parents in raising and caring for their children.

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