In 2015, Singapore’s population consisted of close to 3.4 million Singaporean citizens and just over half a million without citizenship but with a permanent residence permit and an additional 1.6 million non-residents. Four-fifths of these had work permits, while the remainder were accompanying family members or students.
According to Countryaah, the permanent population consists mainly of three ethnic groups. The largest group, about 75 percent, are Chinese. Malaysians originating in Malaysia or Indonesia make up 13 percent while people from India and other parts of South Asia, including Burma, make up 9 percent.
In recent decades, the birth surplus in the Singaporean portion of the population has become smaller. Especially in Chinese and Indian families, birth rates are low. Periodically, the total population has nevertheless increased significantly as a result of large immigration from many countries in South and Southeast Asia, mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines. The proportion of guest workers in the population has therefore increased, a change that some Singaporeans in the 2010s began to question. Since 2012, the government has tightened the rules for obtaining work permits, and the Singapore population growth rate has slowed from 2.1 percent in 2012 to 1.2 percent in 2015.
Singapore is among the countries in the world where life expectancy is the longest (close to 81 years for men and 85 years for women). The rising longevity and the low birth rates mean that an increasing proportion of the permanent population is found at high ages.
Singapore now consists of a single contiguous urban area and the entire population is designated as urban.
For information on life expectancy and other demographic statistics, see Country facts.
There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Approximately 75% of the population speak Chinese (mainly minority) as mother tongue, 15% Malay and 7% Indian language, mainly Tamil. English is the administrative and school language.
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Singapore is a religious pluralistic society, where Chinese people’s religion, Buddhism and Daoism are half the population. In addition to Hindu and Sikh minorities (2010) there are about 14 percent Muslims and 19 percent Christians. In addition, a growing group that claims to be non-religious.