4.99 million inhabitants (2009) Density: 6630 inhabitants per sq. km Singapore consists of 63 islands, including mainland Singapore.
The regions of Singapore are:
- Bedok 3,600,900
- Bukit Merah 903,100
- Jurong West 851,000
- Hougang 696,900
- Bedok 673,600
- Woodlands 472,000
Health care in Singapore is mainly under the responsibility of the Singapore Government's Ministry of Health. Singapore generally has an efficient and widespread system of health care. It implements a universal healthcare system, and co-exists with private healthcare system. Infant mortality rate – a standard in determining the overall efficiency of healthcare. In 2006 the crude birth rate stood at 10.1 per 1000, a very low level attributed to birth control policies of the 1960s-70s, and the crude death rate was also one of the lowest in the world at 4.3 per 1000. In 2006, the total fertility rate was only 1.26 children per woman, the 3rd lowest in the world and well below the 2.10 needed to replace the population. Singapore was ranked 6th in the World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems in the year 2000.
Singapore has a universal health care system where government ensures affordability, largely through compulsory savings and price controls, while the private sector provides most care. Overall spending on health care amounts to only 3% of annual GDP. Of that, 66% comes from private sources. Singapore currently has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world (equaled only by Iceland) and among the highest life expectancies from birth, according to the World Health Organization.
Education in Singapore is managed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), which controls the development and administration of state schools receiving government funding, but also has an advisory and supervisory role in respect of private schools. For both private and state schools, there are variations in the extent of autonomy in their curriculum, scope of government aid and funding, tuition burden on the students, and admission policy.
Children with disabilities attend special education (SPED) schools run by Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), which are partially funded by the Ministry of Education. Education spending usually makes up about 20 per cent of the annual national budget, which subsidises state education and government-assisted private education for Singaporean citizens and funds the Edusave programe, the costs for which are significantly higher for non-citizens.
In Singapore, English is the first language learned by half the children by the time they reach preschool age and becomes the primary medium of instruction by the time they reach primary school. English is the language of instruction for most subjects, especially mathematics and the natural sciences; the official Mother Tongue languages are generally not taught in English, although there is provision for the use of English at the initial stages. Certain schools, such as secondary schools under the Special Assistance Plan (SAP), which encourages a richer use of the mother tongue, may teach occasionally in English and another language. A few schools have been experimenting with curricula that integrate language subjects with mathematics and the sciences, using both English and a second language.
Singapore is a multi-religious country. According to Statistics Singapore, around 51% of resident Singaporeans (excluding significant numbers of visitors and migrant workers) practice Buddhism and Taoism. Muslims constitute 15%, of whom Malays account for the majority with a substantial number of Indian Muslims and Chinese Muslims. About 14%, mostly Chinese, Eurasians, and Indians, practice Christianity - a broad classification including Catholicism, Protestantism and other denominations. Smaller minorities practice Sikhism, Hinduism and others, according to the 2000 census.
Some religious materials and practices are banned in Singapore. The Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, are prohibited from distributing religious materials and are sometimes jailed for their conscientious refusals to serve in the Singaporean military.
About 15% of the population declared no religious affiliation.