13 February 2013

FASS Seminar at the National University of Singapore

Wolfgang Lutz will talk about the desirable level of fertility in Singapore

During his visit to the National University of Singapore (NUS) and invited by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) Wolfgang Lutz is going to give a Seminar at the National University of Singapore (NUS) entitled "Is Singapore’s Birth Rate too Low?". The seminar will take place on Wednesday, February 13 between 2pm-4pm.

The seminar will address this question "Is Singapore’s Birth Rate too Low?" from several different perspectives and show that it is actually a rather complex question. First, we will discuss measurement issues including problems of translating rates that are observed in a calendar year into average life time children per women. Next, we will discuss the issue of changing age-dependency ratios and compare the contribution of fertility to that of migration and increasing life expectancy. Finally, we will discuss the role of population heterogeneity – and in particular the educational attainment distribution – in assessing what is an economically desirable level of fertility. In particular, we will discuss whether better education of the young cohorts can compensate – and possibly more than compensate – through higher productivity for their smaller number. Other possible criteria for what is considered to be a desirable level of fertility will also be discussed including national strength and global climate change. I will conclude with the proposition that a fertility level somewhat below replacement level may be optimal for a highly educated modern society such as Singapore.

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Last edited: 01 February 2013


Wolfgang Lutz

Senior Program Advisor:Acting Research Group Leader

Population and Just Societies Program|Social Cohesion


and Wellbeing Research Group

T +43(0) 2236 807 294

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313