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Singapore: Housing & Fertility

Study: No flat, no child in Singapore: Cointegration analysis of housing, income, and fertility

The demographic shift in East Asia and Southeast Asia, marked by a significant decline in fertility rates, presents a critical challenge. Understanding contributing factors, especially housing’s impact, is essential for effective policy interventions.


  • Demographic Transition: Countries like Singapore, South Korea, and China have fertility rates below replacement levels. Similar trends are evident in Southeast Asia and Europe.
  • Cultural and Social Factors: Work and education dynamics are influencing childrearing decisions. These shifts are rooted in changing gender roles, marriage norms, and educational aspirations.
  • Policy Responses: Pro-natalist policies have emerged, incorporating financial incentives and support for balancing work and family life.

This research explores the relationship between housing affordability and fertility rates, using Singapore as a case study. Singapore’s unique combination of low fertility rates and a large public housing market provides a critical context for this study.

Key Findings

  • Negative Correlation Between Housing Prices and Fertility: The study shows a significant negative impact of higher public housing prices on fertility rates in Singapore.
  • ”No Flat, No Child” Belief: The findings validate the prevalent belief among young Singaporeans that housing affordability is a crucial factor in their family planning decisions.
  • Income Impact: Alongside housing prices, income levels also show a negative effect on fertility.

Policy Implications

  • Housing Affordability as a Key Factor: Governments need to integrate housing affordability into their fertility-enhancing strategies.
  • Rethinking Housing Policies: Effective policies should address the challenges young couples face in accessing affordable housing.
  • Financial Incentives and Housing: Exploring financial incentives linked to housing, like mortgage reductions upon the birth of a child, could be beneficial.

Further Research

  • Comparative Studies: The paper suggests examining housing and fertility relationships in other East Asian countries with low fertility rates.
  • Micro-behavior Analysis: Future studies should include survey data to understand household behaviors and perceptions related to housing and fertility.
  • Broader Impacts: Investigating the impact of housing prices on fertility in other countries with high housing costs, like China, could offer additional insights.


The study underscores the need for comprehensive policy approaches that consider housing’s significant role in family planning decisions. To effectively address the fertility decline, strategies must encompass both pro-natalist measures and targeted housing policies, ensuring that young couples have access to affordable housing as a foundation for family formation.

Study’s Approach

  • Data and Methods: Utilizing a cointegration analysis of housing, income, and fertility, the study examines the long-run relationship between these factors.
  • Empirical Evidence: The research confirms a negative long-run effect of housing prices on fertility rates, providing robust evidence of the interconnectedness of housing and fertility decisions in Singapore.

Broader Context

  • Demographic Implications: The declining fertility rates have profound implications for the aging population, workforce dynamics, and economic sustainability in the region.
  • Cultural Shifts: The study highlights the impact of changing societal norms and expectations, particularly around marriage, childbearing, and educational investments.

Study Limitations

  • Observation Constraints: Limited data availability restricts the scope of the analysis. Expanding the time series could improve the validity of findings.
  • Income Measurement: GNI per capita, while useful, may not perfectly capture household income dynamics.
  • External Validity: The specific context of Singapore may limit the generalizability of findings to other settings.

In summary, this comprehensive study sheds light on the crucial link between housing affordability and fertility rates in East Asia, with a specific focus on Singapore. Its findings carry significant policy implications, suggesting the need for integrated approaches that address housing affordability as a key component of pro-natalist strategies. The research also paves the way for further studies in other East Asian contexts, contributing to a broader understanding of demographic transitions in the region.