September 27, 2017 / 10:09 AM / in 21 days

Fewer babies born in Singapore last year despite incentives

People wait for fireworks during a Golden Jubilee National Day Parade rehearsal along the Marina Bay overlooking the skyline of the central business district in Singapore July 25, 2015. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Fewer babies were born in Singapore last year, according to statistics announced on Wednesday, despite generous government incentives to boost fertility in the city-state.

A total of 33,167 Singaporeans were born in 2016, compared to 33,725 in the previous year, the Singapore Department of Statistics said. However, the 2016 births remained above a 10-year average, it said.

According to the World Bank, wealthy Singapore had the fourth-lowest fertility rate in the world in 2015.

The government enhanced its incentives scheme in 2015, giving out as much as S$10,000 ($7,400) in cash to new parents. The public housing policy prioritises married couples.

The statistics show Singapore’s total population was up an annual 0.1 percent at 5.61 million by June this year, the slowest in at least a decade.

The number of people on work permits in Singapore fell sharply, hit by weakness in the construction and marine engineering sectors, the statistics department said. The number of permanent residents was stable, but the number of citizens was up 0.9 percent at 3.44 million, the data showed.

Reporting by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Additional reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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