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S’pore population hits 4.6 million

Number of foreigners increasing faster than citizens, PRs

SINGAPORE’S economic planners think the country can hold 6.5 million people, a size they feel will be ideal to keep the economy humming.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, however, feels the optimum population size for tiny Singapore might be smaller, between 5 and 5.5 million.

The latest numbers released yesterday by the Singapore Department of Statistics – after some refinements that exclude persons who were away for at least 12 months continuously, in line with United Nations guidelines – show that Singapore is just less than one million people away from hitting that figure recently suggested by Mr Lee.

Singapore’s total population has swelled to 4.6 million – and that was seven months ago.

The drive to attract foreign talent to make up the local shortage is apparently bearing fruit. The number of foreigners who work and live here has crossed the one-million mark.

In the past five years, the figure grew three times as fast as the number of Singaporeans and permanent residents.

The result: foreigners made up 22 per cent of Singapore’s total population as at June 2007, up from 18 per cent in 2003. From 2006 to 2007, the number of foreigners jumped nearly 15 per cent to 1,005,500.

Locals and permanent residents rose by less than 2 per cent to 3,583,100.


Source: Business Times 5 Feb 08


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