With a better understanding of the evolving family structures in Singapore, "we can work together to tackle the challenges ahead," said Social and Family Development (MSF) Minister Tan Chuan-Jin.
Mr Tan was speaking at the MSF Social Service Partners Conference (SSPC) themed "Supporting Families Together", a platform for social service professionals, Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), academics and policymakers to discuss emerging family trends and ways to strengthen support for families through policies and programmes.
The MSF said in a statement on Friday that although the nuclear family, which is the two-generation family with a married couple living with their children or parents, remains the dominant household structure in the country, the proportion of these families has fallen from 56 per cent to 49 per cent over the period from 2000 to 2014.
Meanwhile, other household structures are emerging. There has been a significant increase in the proportion of one-person households (from 8 per cent to 11 per cent) and households headed by a married couple who are childless or are not living with their children (from 11 per cent to 14 per cent) over the same period.
Some of the different challenges faced by families in Singapore were also highlighted at the SPCC:
- Sandwiched generation who need to support both children and parents;
- Children's values may be changing;
- Recent marriages have higher dissolution rates;
- An increase in cross-cultural families;
Ms Claire Nazar, Families for Life Council member and panel moderator at the SSPC said: "The views from the many social service partners, academics, researchers and VWO representatives gathered here today are useful in enabling everyone to have a panoramic view of each sector's role in strengthening families, and thus see how we can each do more and work together to be future-ready for the challenges ahead."