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Say 'I do' one day? Yes, but...

While the number of singles in Singapore continues to rise, the yearning to tie the knot one day remains strong, a survey has found. (ST PHOTO: LEE TEE JONG)

Publication Date : 04-01-2013


A survey shows that while the number of singles in Singapore continues to rise, they still want to tie the knot someday


While the number of singles in Singapore continues to rise, the yearning to tie the knot one day remains strong, a survey has found.

What stops them from getting hitched, however, is that they either have yet to find their ideal soulmate, or they want to focus on their careers or studies first.

Married couples appear to face a similar gap between the ideal and the reality when it comes to parenthood: Many end up with fewer kids than they had originally intended, with financial worries topping the list of reasons.

This was the picture painted of Singapore's marriage and parenthood scene by the results of the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) survey, which were released yesterday.

The 2012 study, which is the latest in a series of surveys conducted on the issue, could help policy planners in their efforts to boost the nation's low birth rates. It also comes ahead of a package of measures to encourage marriage and parenthood that is expected to be announced later this month.

The survey, which covered 2,120 singles and 2,526 married people, found that a high proportion of singles - 83 per cent - want to get married.

Similar findings were made in surveys in 2004 and 2007. Yet singlehood rates continue to rise across all age groups, according to a different study done in 2011.

What's also been consistent are the top two reasons why many stay single - they were not able to find a suitable partner, or wanted to concentrate fully on jobs or studies first.

Experts and singles explained why so many singles had problems finding Mr or Miss Right. Socialising in Singapore, they said, can be difficult.

"The problem for most Singaporeans is our limited social circle," said sociologist Paulin Straughan, the principal consultant and investigator for the study.

"For young working adults, most of their time is spent at work. Most have little social contacts outside of the workplace."

Too true, agreed Stacey Choe, 33.

"We tend to keep to our own groups here," said the manager in a non-governmental group who used to live in London.

"In other places, there tends to be more socialising with people outside our group, in places like bars and pubs. At parties, even couples would bring along single friends."

Another reason could be the mismatch of expectations between men and women.

According to the owner of dating agency Singles Mingles, women tend to prefer men who at least match their education and income level, whereas the men do not mind dating women who earn less and have lower qualifications.

Age is a key factor as well, said Kelvin Ong. "Most guys want to meet girls below 30, while men in their 40s want women in their early 30s."

In fact, so many older men prefer younger women that his agency does not offer matchmaking services for women over 35.

For others, the problem is time. Half the singles surveyed said they just did not have enough time to meet new people or make new friends, while 42 per cent did not have time to date or find a partner.

As for singles who were already in serious relationships, money was the biggest issue when it came to tying the knot.

Asked why they were not getting married soon, 61 per cent said they wanted to save money for their new homes or wedding first, while about the same proportion felt they were still too young to marry.


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