If you could travel 15 years into the future, our citizen population will look very different. Chances are you’ll see more older people around you. That is because by 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 years and above.
This demographic change has come about quickly. There were 270,000 Singaporeans aged 65 and above in 2005. Just ten years later, that number has grown to 440,000. This fast pace of ageing is due to the large cohorts of post-war baby boomers getting older. The first cohort of baby boomers turned 65 in 2012.
Advancements in healthcare and medical technologies have also increased Singapore’s life expectancy. 50 years ago, a 65-year-old person could expect to live approximately eight years more. Today, a person who is 65 can expect to live another 20 years on average.
By 2030, the number of Singaporeans aged 65 and above is projected to double to 900,000. That means 1 in 4 Singaporeans will be in that age group, up from 1 in 8 today.
We are not alone. Other developed nations are also experiencing a similar rise in their older population. But from the graph below, the slope of Singapore’s line is steeper than that of most other countries. This means our population is ageing at a fast pace.
Source: Singapore’s data is on citizen population and from Department Of Statistics, projections assume TFR of 1.2 and current immigration rates. Data from other countries pertains to total population and is from the UN.
Besides the higher number of older people in our population, another reason for the pace of ageing is our low total fertility rate (TFR). The lower the TFR, the smaller the younger population, hence the faster the rate of growth in the proportion of older people. We see this from the chart below – the number of citizens under 25 years old is declining, even as number of citizens in the older age group climbs.
Interestingly, although our society is getting older, we are no less dynamic. Older Singaporeans are now healthier and more active, and are continuing to contribute meaningfully to our economy and society. If we can adapt and transform our society to become more age-friendly and successfully turn it into our strength, the opportunities that come with longevity are tremendous. Learn more about what an ageing population means to us.