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Vol 13 Number 2
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COVER STORY: Sexuality, Ageing, and Fertility in Singapore
by Victor H H GOH

A survey of the sexual behaviour of the people of Singapore may throw some light on the declining fertility rate.

n the 2002 and 2003 Durex Global Sex Surveys, Singapore ranked at the bottom of the list of 22 to 34 countries in terms of average annual frequency of sex. Although the method for generating the data lacks scientific validity, it nevertheless stimulated a debate about a possible correlation between low sexual activity and the low birth rate in Singapore. The government has been trying various ways, without success, to raise the birth rate.

In contemporary Singapore, the decision whether to have children has become a very complex matter influenced by the couple’s age; their religious beliefs; their cultural and ethnic backgrounds; their socio-economic and educational status; their expectations in life, marriage, and parenthood; environmental factors; and their methods of coping with the demands of daily life. Singapore’s total fertility rate has declined to well below replacement rate. Since 1990, the most dramatic decline took place among the Singaporean Chinese, whose 1.18 rate ranks among the lowest in the world.

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