30,500 babies born so far this year

30,500 babies born so far this year
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The stork visited Singapore regularly during the country's Jubilee year, with about 30, 500 Singaporean babies born as of Dec 1 this year.

Providing the figure on the sidelines of a community event yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said: "We expect that the number of births this year will be comparable to last year, which was also among the highest in the last 10 years."

There were 33, 193 citizen births last year, up from 31,017 in 2013 but slightly fewer than the 33,238 citizen births in 2012, which was the auspicious Year of the Dragon.

"We hope that by the end of this year, we will have a good year for babies," added Mr Teo, who is also Minister-in-charge of the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD).

While it is unclear if the number of babies in the SG50 year will exceed that of last year, statistics from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority show 418 more citizen births registered in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year.

Mr Teo was at the inaugural National Play Day carnival, organised by the NPTD and Mediacorp to celebrate parenthood and families in Singapore. About 1,500 participants with 287 baby strollers set a new Singapore record for the largest mass stroller walk, after completing a 1.5km route around the Singapore Sports Hub.

Among them were engineer Tan Yi Ming, 33, her husband and their daughter, born in March this year.

Ms Tan said: "Since we have an SG50 baby, we thought this event would be a good opportunity to take our daughter out for fun over the weekend. The stroller walk is also like her first marathon of sorts."

Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng flagged off the walk, which Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson) also took part in.

Ms Tin, who gave birth to a baby boy on Aug 5 this year, said she was particularly glad to see so many hands-on dads at the stroller walk. "With parents working as a team to raise our children and with support from the community, we look forward to an even more family-friendly Singapore in the years to come."

Mr Teo said the Government will continue to work with the private sector and community to make Singapore a better place to start families and raise children.

The Government has also beefed up incentives to encourage people to marry and be parents.

In August, an enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package was introduced, with the Baby Bonus cash gift raised by $2,000 and the Medisave grant for newborns increased by $1,000 to a total of $4,000.

An extra week of paternity leave was also introduced.

But Mr Teo noted that government measures are "signalling devices", and that people's wants and community support are also important.

"This is what will make the difference, not specific cash grants," he said.

This article was first published on Dec 20, 2015.
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