The Singaporeans Who Actually Want Children
Top image: Shiva Barathi Gupta/ RICE File Photo

Do young Singaporeans still want children?

The statistics point overwhelmingly to one answer. According to the National Population and Talent Division of the Prime Minister’s Office, the total number of citizen births in Singapore dropped 4 percent: from 31,713 in 2021 to 30,429 in 2022.

In the same year, there was a record high of 24,767 citizen marriages. 

Though it might seem unpopular to have children in this day and age—Double Income, No Kids (DINK) is in vogue—some Singaporeans tell us why they still want to have kids of their own.

“Personally, having experienced the way my mother brought me up, I’ve always had the desire to have children. The love she provided me with is something that will always be deeply ingrained in me.

Knowing that I too have the ability to love my own child in that way, nurture them, and watch them grow into the person they wish to be is one of the main reasons why I wish to have children.

I think this desire to have children ultimately arises from the environment I was brought up in. I had many motherly figures around me apart from my mum (aunt and godmother), who loved me gently and unconditionally.

Additionally, being an educator has made me extra keen on helping kids grow not just in their academics but also in the various aspects of their lives. Perhaps this experience has made me want to not just have kids of my own, but also if possible, foster children to provide for those without the privilege of love and warmth.”

– Roxanne, single

“One of the strongest reasons why I want children would probably be from my upbringing.

I was lucky enough to come from quite a close-knit family. My parents would prioritise my brother and me before many other things: My dad made it a point to come back from work for dinner every day to spend a meal together. And my mum worked casual hours while spending most of her day driving us to and from school, tuition, and playdates. I think my desire to have kids stems from that, in the sense that I want to replicate the experience that I had with another generation.

I have two younger cousins, who are currently in the kindergarten-primary school range, whose parents went through a divorce. Throughout their lives, their father wasn’t around when it mattered. When they first started coming over to our place to play, my parents told me and my brother to try our best to be ‘father figures’ to them by teaching them manners and ingraining good habits. In the process, I found that I was good with kids and enjoyed playing with them and teaching them.”

– Jay, in a relationship

Image: Tey Liang Jin / RICE File Photo

“I think having children brings the family closer. It’s nice to see the children you have given birth to and raise them the way you want to. My husband joked that we can play a basketball game if we have four kids. 

Watching my close friends having children and seeing how happy they are made me want to have children. At the same time, they tell me how tiring it is to be a mother. But the joy their children bring is worth it. I want to go through the ups and downs of being a mother and watch them grow up and be independent.”

– Chris, married

“Having children is a big blessing. Contrary to popular belief that having kids when you’re not ‘ready’ may be a mistake, I think not many couples can have kids even when they want to.

I think the greatest joy one can receive or have is by being a parent. A parent’s unconditional love for their child is a special kind of love not many can experience. However, this relationship is the hardest to maintain and cultivate. 

I believe that as a parent, if someone compliments your child’s upbringing, it says a lot about your parenting ability. If I can raise my child well (in education, moral values and habits), they become a trophy in a sense. Even though this might sound selfish, the fact is that it’s difficult to achieve. Having children goes beyond starting a family; it’s a greater responsibility because you’re directly contributing to society.”

– Elden, single

“I would like to have a big family. I believe that children bring so much joy! Honestly, I find myself enjoying their company. 

My desire to have children stems from my experiences growing up as a single child. I’ve always wanted a big family, and building my own family sounds like a really great experience to me. Also, being in a traditional Chinese family, I guess there is the notion of giving birth to sons to help continue the family line.” 

– Yuki, in a relationship

Image: Stephanie Lee / RICE File Photo

“I like kids. 

I grew up with three other sisters. A big family is fun, lively, and brings joy to the household. Plus, I want to raise a smaller version of myself to accomplish all that I couldn’t. Having an offspring to impart my wisdom to sounds like it would be really fulfilling.” 

– Rauf, single

“In this day and age, having kids seems like a privilege due to the cost. In addition, you are pretty much tied down to caring for the kid 24/7. 

But I do agree that kids can be a blessing. I’m pretty certain that my lukewarm attitude towards children will improve down the road when I’m more financially stable, confident, and have achieved greater milestones.

Furthermore, it’s been somewhat ingrained into society that the ‘perfect family’ should have kids. So, having children would make for a great milestone for my partner and I. It’s a lifelong project, and seeing the kid grow could be fulfilling.”

– Charmaine, in a relationship

Editor’s note: Article has been amended to correct an error in statistics.

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