Population Fears

Copy of picture from 18th century depicting life in Kaifeng circa 1000AD

Singapore is all abuzz about the projected population growth from 5.3m today to 6.9m in 2030.

People are feeling the squeeze and complaining no end about it. Housing is expensive, cars are expensive, and public transport is too crowded for comfort. The population is rapidly aging too, and the older population above 65 years of age is expected to triple to 900,000 by 2030.

Methinks we plan and worry too much… maybe about the wrong things.

The numbers that caught my eye are actually the following:

There are approximately 200,000 foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore today. These are the women (mainly) who arrive from some neighbouring countries to live and work in the homes of Singapore residents. They are engaged mostly to look after young children and do the housework, but increasingly often, they are brought in to look after older folk.

Without them, 200,000 households out of the million of so will not be able to enjoy their current lifestyle.

In 2030, the number of foreign domestic workers is estimated to rise to 300,000.

300,000 out of 6.9m if the projected population will be foreign domestic workers (otherwise known as “maids”).

The good thing about FDWs is that they allow the elderly infirm to be looked after within their own homes, at affordable rates.

The bad news is that relying on FDWs is surely not sustainable in the long run. Some day, FDWs will stop arriving on our shores, and what will families do then?