A Changing Landscape: Singapore’s Younger Generation Views on Marriage, Family, and Beyond

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ByThe Counter

A recent Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) survey paints a fascinating picture of evolving perspectives among Singapore’s younger generation. 

Marital Redefinition

A striking 70% of respondents aged 21-34, compared to 58% and 50% in older groups, view marriage as not essential. Similar sentiments extend to childbearing, with 72% of the youngest cohort viewing it as optional.

Dr. Chew Han Ei of IPS attributes these shifts to a nuanced approach. Before committing to marriage and parenthood, the younger generation prioritizes a checklist: secure employment, stable housing, financial comfort, travel opportunities, and even rest.

Despite reservations, 68% of young respondents envision themselves married, and 67% desire children. This highlights a disconnect between ideals and perceived readiness.

The survey identifies a gender gap. Women aged 21-49 are more likely than men to consider marriage and childbearing non-essential.

Challenges Beyond the Altar

The study revealed other areas of concern. Younger Singaporeans report higher levels of loneliness and cite the cost of living as their top social issue. They find online communication easier and express anxiety about in-person interactions. Mental health also ranks high among their concerns.

Career anxieties are pronounced, with young respondents focusing on securing desired salaries, positions, benefits, and working conditions. Notably, 55% would consider overseas work opportunities, showcasing a global career perspective.

Despite these challenges, younger Singaporeans demonstrate higher civic engagement compared to their elders, participating in both online and offline activities and feeling empowered to drive positive change. This civic engagement extends beyond the years of mandatory service in schools, highlighting their commitment to shaping their community and society.

The IPS survey underscores a new chapter in Singapore’s social landscape. The younger generation prioritizes personal fulfillment and practical considerations before embarking on traditional life stages. However, their aspirations of marriage and family remain, albeit within a redefined narrative. Meanwhile, challenges surrounding loneliness, the cost of living, and mental health require attention. Despite these hurdles, their active civic engagement offers hope for a future of resilience and progress.

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