Commentary: Government matchmaking programmes need a rethink to have singles to mingle

STUDY: Wish more babies? Help partners build more powerful marriages first, a commentary

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The us government established the Social Development Unit (SDU) in January 1984 to encourage greater interaction that is social wedding among graduate singles, in the straight straight back of this 1980 populace census which unveiled an escalating trend of singlehood among graduate women.

Policymakers at that time had been concerned regarding the implications for Singapore’s talent that is future if more well-educated ladies stayed solitary.

The SDU had been conceived to battle this trend by giving opportunities for graduate singles to meet up and connect through dinners, outings along with other activities and decreasing the expenses of trying to find wife.

Since 1984, SDU has encountered a few modifications, including catering to both graduate and non-graduate singles since the renamed personal Development system.

Although some of its functions have actually developed through the years, its primary goal stays to foster relationship and relationship abilities among singles to enhance the nation’s wedding and delivery prices.

Singlehood rates – as measured by the percentage of men and women when you look at the 25 to 29 year-old-age bracket who are single – have developed through the years 1980 – 2017. Singlehood prices are shown individually for men and women. (supply: Singapore Department of Statistics; Graphic: writer supplied)


Regardless of tsdating login the introduction of SDU in 1984, the trend of singlehood appears to be increasing, leading some to concern the potency of SDU and some calling the scheme a deep failing.

Nonetheless it wouldn’t be proper to close out that the SDU happens to be inadequate on the basis of the increasing trend of singlehood alone.

This enhance may have already been because of other factors such as for example a greater percentage of females going into the labour market, causing more hours invested among females at the job much less time spent on dating tasks.

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Certainly, data demonstrates that feminine involvement when you look at the labour market is in the increase. This figure had grown to 60.4 per cent by 2016 while the female labour force participation rate in 1980 was only 44.3 per cent.

To gauge if the SDU was indeed effective, we might should also understand the counterfactual – that is, just exactly what Singapore’s singlehood rates could have held it’s place in the years after 1984, had there been no SDU.

Even though the portion of solitary females when you look at the 25 to 29 age group experienced an increase from 40 percent in 1984 to 64 % in 2017, there isn’t any understanding how this trend might have developed, had the SDU been absent.

A female walks through the Central company District in Raffles Put.

Regardless of this, it’s still feasible to calculate the potency of SDU.

One low-cost that is potential is to compare the specific evolution in singlehood prices across two categories of ladies – unmarried citizens who’d finished additional education who have been qualified to receive the actions organised by SDU (or by the comparable Social developing area) and unmarried residents that has perhaps not finished additional training have been ineligible – before and after 1984.

Then diverging significantly in the period after 1984 if SDU’s programmes had a visible effect, we would see the singlehood rates between these two groups plausibly evolving similarly in the years prior to 1984 but.

Yet such a report would need access to individual-level birth records and attainment that is educational, that is presently just open to chosen government divisions.


While the conversation above suggests, more research that is empirical required before we are able to get to a conclusive response on if the Government’s social development programmes have already been effective.

Nevertheless, my own view is the fact that the development that is social is not because inadequate as many pessimists might think.

Certainly, the task carried out by the Social that is current Development (SDN) and its own accredited dating agencies – which consist of matching singles to possible lovers predicated on their pages and choices, allowing them to date online, coordination of real times, and supply of courses and information to equip singles because of the relationship abilities had a need to hitch a partner – have actually enormous potential to foster intimate relationships.

These provide singles with usage of prospective lovers they truly are not likely to meet up during the period of their normal life and lay the foundational abilities needed for maintaining relationships that are such.

Much once the process seemed engineered, it is of good use to bear in mind that it was Singapore’s Tinder ahead of the chronilogical age of dating apps and artificial cleverness.

STUDY: Finding love in Singapore, one swipe at the same time, a commentary

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The SDN has additionally since moved into accrediting dating agencies, leveraging the personal sector to fix this problem that is public.

Although we don’t have information on what children that are many partners got hitched due to SDN, dating agencies accredited because of the SDN have actually stated that more males are taking part in these occasions.

However every person eligible for the SDN programme is making usage of it. The main explanation could be the stigma that is social in involvement.

People worry if they have to resort to matchmaking that they will be perceived by others as “unwanted” and “undesirable. The pool of singles engaged in the SDN programme inevitably shrinks this method, so your amount of marriages which form due to the programme isn’t as big as it may possibly be.

Regional dating agency CompleteMe held a mass dating occasion for 126 singles during the York resort on Dec 14 year that is last. The big event created an archive into the Singapore Book of reports for the premier Gokon Gathering.

One of the keys is consequently to make sure that singles buy-in towards the concept of such tasks plus don’t see participation within these tasks being a stigma that is social. One way of this will be through general public training and marketing, to move mindsets and normalise the look for a life partner, also before people hit the eligibility age of 20.

In this way, folks are less likely to want to be misinformed by negative stereotypes and can have an even more positive image of exactly what the system can perform for them.

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