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Demographics of Singapore

Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The annual growth rate for 2000 was 2.8% (including resident foreigners). Singapore has a varied linguistic, cultural, and religious heritage. Malay is the national language, but Chinese, English, and Tamil also are official languages. English is the language of administration and also is widely used in the professions, businesses, and schools.

The government has mandated that English be the primary language used at all levels of the school systems, and it aims to provide at least 10 years of education for every child. In 2000, primary and secondary school students totaled about 482,00, or 12% of the entire population. In 2000, enrollment at the universities was approximately 50,000 (full-time, part-time and postgraduate) and about 58,374 at the polytechnics. The Institute of Technical Education[?] for basic technical and commerce skills has almost 16,000 students. The country's literacy rate is 93%.

Singapore generally allows religious freedom, although religious groups are subject to government scrutiny, and some religious sects are restricted or banned. Almost all Malays are Muslim; other Singaporeans are Hindus, Sikhs, Taoists, Buddhists, Confucianists, or Christians.

Table of contents


4,151,264 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 18% (male 390,352; female 365,730)
15-64 years: 75% (male 1,520,875; female 1,590,355)
65 years and over: 7% (male 124,413; female 159,539) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate

3.54% (2000 est.)

Birth rate

12.79 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate

4.21 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate

26.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2000 est.) Infant mortality rate: 3.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.05 years
male: 77.1 years
female: 83.23 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.16 children born/woman (2000 est.)


noun: Singaporean(s)
adjective: Singapore

Ethnic groups

Chinese 77%, Malay[?] 14%, Indian 7.6%, other 1.4%.


Buddhist (Chinese), Muslim (Malays), Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist, Confucianist


There are four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. National language is Malay. English is the dominating language.

However, even more languages are spoken by the different ethnic groups in Singapore.

The English used in daily life is often referred to as Singlish.

While the use of Mandarin is promoted by the Singapore government, many Chinese dialects, like Hokkien, Teochew[?], Cantonese, Hainanese[?] and Hakka, are used especially by the older parts of the Chinese population.

About 60% of Singapore's Indian population speaks Tamil as native language, other Indian languages are Malayalam and Hindi.

Only about 5000 Baba Nyonya still make use of the Malay dialect called Baba Malay[?].


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 91.1%
male: 95.9%
female: 86.3% (1995 est.)

See also : Singapore

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