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The total population in Singapore has shrunk by 4.1% to 5.45 million in June this year, official data showed, indicating the sharpest fall since the government began collecting such data in 1950. 

For the second consecutive year the city-state saw its population shrink and the third time it witnessed negative growth since 1950, according to an official annual population report.

The fall in the non-resident population occurred mainly due to decrease in foreign employment owing to the restrictions

Channel News Asia, citing the annual Population in Brief published by National Population and Talent Division, pointed out, the number of citizens fell by 0.7 per cent to 3.5 million, while PR numbers dropped 6.2 per cent to 490,000.

“Travel restrictions during the pandemic was the main factor affecting the size of the (citizen) and PR population in 2021, as more (citizens) and PRs were staying overseas continuously for 12 months or more, who therefore were not counted as part of the resident population," the National Population and Talent Division said.

Fewer people became new citizens or PRs last year, likely due to travel restrictions and operational limitations arising from COVID-19, it said.

For example, safe management measures resulted in limited slots to complete the final steps for PR and citizenship registration, which must be done in-person, it also said

“As a result, some applicants who were approved in principle had not completed all the required processes to be granted their permanent residency or citizenship by end-2020."

The non-resident population saw the largest drop of 10.7 per cent to hit 1.47 million.

“The decrease was seen across all pass types, with the largest drop in work permit holders in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors," said the channel report.

Singapore’s citizen population is also continuing to grow, with the median age rising from 42.2 years in 2020 to 42.5 years this year.


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