Tuesday, 14 August 2007

WPQ 22 May 2007: Marriages between Singaporeans and foreigners

Parliament sits again on 27 August, and so I thought I'd better clear my backlog of PQs that I've not yet posted on this blog. I've recently started a new job, and this new job is a bit busier than the previous one, so I haven't been able to pay as much attention to this blog as I'd have liked to. Hopefully I can rectify that from here on out.

This is the last PQ from the May sittings that I haven't posted here. I posed this question largely out of curiosity about this issue. It's interesting that while the number of Singaporean men marrying foreign brides has gone up over the yearsa, it has consistently been much more than that of Singaporean women marrying foreign men. In fact, the latter number has fairly consistently hovered around the 1000 mark.

I don't have that many insights into why, except that maybe there are more Singaporean men marrying foreigners because of the well-known stereotypical reasons oft-cited by men for marrying China or Vietnamese brides. It may also be that there are more benefits for a foreigner wife than a foreigner husband. But that doesn't explain why the number of Singaporean women marrying foreigners hasn't really budged over the years. If I can dig up an explanation, I'll post it here.

WPQ

MARRIAGES BETWEEN SINGAPOREANS AND FOREIGNERS
(Figures and Nationalities)

Mr Siew Kum Hong: To ask the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports for each of the last ten years (a) how many marriages between Singaporeans and foreigners were registered in Singapore; (b) how many of these marriages were between Singaporean men and foreign women; and (c) what were the 20 most common nationalities of (i) foreign men who married Singaporean women and (ii) foreign women who married Singaporean men.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan: From 1997 to 2006, an annual average of 5,200 marriages between Singaporeans and foreigners were registered in Singapore. The annual figures for the period are at Table 1.

Table 1: Number of Marriages Registered in Singapore between Singapore Citizens and Foreigners, 1997-2006


YearNumber of Marriages
19974445
19985102
19995172
20004823
20015058
20024929
20034566
20045411
20056777
20066359


For the same period, an annual average of 4,200 marriages between Singaporean men and foreign women were registered in Singapore. The annual figures for the period are at Table 2.

Table 2: Number of Marriages Registered in Singapore between Singapore Citizen Males and Foreign Females, 1997-2006


YearNumber of Marriages
19973592
19984143
19994129
20003834
20014117
20023988
20033647
20044358
20055611
20065202


The most common origins among foreign spouses who married Singaporeans from 2004 to 2006 are listed at Table 3. We only have a breakdown by origins from 2004.

Table 3: 20 Most Common Origins of Foreign Spouses, 2004 - 2006

Alphabetical order


Foreign MalesForeign Females
AustraliaAustralia
BangladeshBrunei
CanadaCambodia
FranceCanada
GermanyHong Kong
Hong KongIndia
IndiaIndonesia
IndonesiaJapan
ItalyKorea
JapanMainland China
Mainland ChinaMalaysia
MalaysiaPhilippines
NetherlandsRussia
New ZealandSri Lanka
PakistanTaiwan
PhilippinesThailand
SwedenTurkey
TaiwanUnited Kingdom
United KingdomUnited States of America
United States of AmericaVietnam

3 comments:

Dr Minority said...

Interesting post. It's a pity you do not have 3 other data sets that might paint a better picture - (1) rank-ordering of the most common origins of foreign spouses, (2) the number of marriages registered outside of Singapore between Singapore citizen females and foreign males (3) the number of mixed marriages who gave birth to children in Singapore and registered their children in a primary school locally (to get an idea of their medium term commitment to staying in the country). (2) might explain the differences in number you pointed out, since traditionally, the Singaporean citizen female would follow the foreign male to his country of origin to conduct the wedding ceremony (and hence be registered overseas rather than locally).

It's also interesting to note that in the common origins table, if one counts only those countries that are in the West and First World, we're talking about 9 countries for foreign males vs 4 for foreign females.

Siew Kum Hong said...

To dr minority: One step at a time... As can be seen from a couple of my other posts, it's not exactly easy to prise information out of the Government. Having said that, I'm pretty sure that (2) is impossible (if the marriages are registered outside Singapore, how would the Government possibly have the figures?) and (3) is just something that the Government does not track.

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