It’s no secret to anyone that Singapore’s birth rate is on the low side.
In fact, our fertility rates last year had reportedly reached new lows, to about 1.1 in 2020.
One of the main reasons was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with more people putting off marriages.
Others also delayed their parenthood plans.
In fact, as of this writing, our current birth rate trends also seem to be declining from 2020 as well.
There have been methods to encourage more babies, through incentives like bonuses, but it’s not like a change would happen overnight.
But it looks like one youth has a solution for this.
Sec 4 Student Says S’pore’s Birth Rates Will Increase if Women Join NS; Cites Israeli Conscription as Example
You might have also seen or heard about a particular opinion piece that appeared recently in The Straits Times.
In it, a 16-year-old student, Wang Lixin suggests that to combat falling birth rates, women should also serve National Service (NS).
Wang wrote that it would allow more men and women to interact and form relationships.
The next point brought up Israel’s conscription as an example.
Wang stated that they had 20 births per 1,000 people for a population of around 9 million.
Singapore, while smaller, has 8.5 births per 1,000 people for a population of 5.69 million.
The piece ended by also noting that women joining NS would also increase the size of our defence force.
Which begs the question: is NS really the romantic meeting couples dream of?
Other news sites, such as Must Share News, have taken to breaking down the statistics.
Conscription in Israel
To start off, let’s examine the country in question.
There is military conscription in Israel for those 18-years-old and above, and for both genders as well.
However, there are some exceptions to conscription too.
For Druze and Circassian, only males need to enlist and Arab citizens of Israel do not have mandatory conscription.
Women serve around two years in the military while males serve for three.
However, an article noted that most women who enlist are primarily unmarried secular Jews.
Ultra-Orthodox Jews also do not enlist. This means that the military population is generally unrepresentative of Israel’s general population.
The same article also said that most pregnancies during military service were unplanned and are usually terminated.
Factors For Higher Birth Rates
In fact, the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies did a study to show where most of Israel’s high birth rate comes from.
Some of these range from policies to support working mothers and emphasising the social and political importance of both women’s employment and fertility.
The study also talked about how Israeli women are also having more kids late in life despite working more.
These are just a few reasons, with the full study being available here.
Whether or not the Singapore government will take Wang’s proposal into consideration remains to be seen.
Maybe NS will be the new Tinder?
Feature Image: Facebook (The Singapore Army)