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Most Singapore residents are of Chinese origin
Singapore is inhabited mostly by Chinese, although it has a very diverse multiracial population. In June 2012, the population of the island state was estimated at 5.31 million, making it one of the most densely populated sovereign states in the world.
People of Chinese descent make up about 74.2% of the population of Singapore. The second-largest ethnic group is Malay, comprising 13.2% of the population.
Although Malays are indigenous to Singapore, most trace their lineage to Malaysian and Indonesian immigrants who settled on the island after 1945.
The quality of life in Singapore is among the best in Asia
Singapore consistently ranks as one of the top Asian cities in terms of quality of living. In the World Happiness Report of 2018, Singapore was also recognized as the ‘Happiest country in Southeast Asia’.
Even with the importance placed on progress and professional achievement, family and community are among the most important social units. For many, this contributes to the contentment and fulfillment felt by most people.
Other factors that contribute to the quality of life in Singapore are the excellent public and private transportation services and the high-quality healthcare system.
Residents also have access to quality education, and there is strong local support for businesses. Singapore also boasts of a stable political and social environment, excellent health and sanitation services, and a thriving economy.
Singapore has a diverse economy driven by globally-competitive industries
Singapore’s business environment is among the most competitive in the world, but it is remarkable for its openness and corruption-free nature. The country’s economy was traditionally driven by electronic and chemical exports, with shipments from the Port of Singapore making its way to numerous countries around the world.
Singapore later diversified its economy to become a global center for research and development, biomedical industries, and banking and finance. More recently, the country has become one of the leading healthcare destinations in Asia.
Singapore continues to attract investments from around the world despite the increase in land and labor costs. The country also has the lowest taxes in the region, with residents paying personal income taxes ranging from 0% to 22%. Even non-residents pay relatively low taxes, ranging from 15% to 22%.
Singapore boasts of several natural and human-made attractions
Singapore is more than just about high-end shopping and luxury accommodations. There are also many natural and human-made attractions all over the island state. The country’s rich multicultural history provides plenty of opportunities to discover unique cultural attractions as well.
The world-famous Marina Bay Sands resort complex is arguably the city’s most popular local and tourist destination. Apart from the luxury hotel, the complex also features a mall with its own canal, the ArtScience Museum, and the Skypark Observation Deck, which provides breathtaking views of the entire city.
If you want to take a break from Singapore’s more urban attractions, a visit to the Bay East Garden is highly recommended. This is a lush green space that contrasts sharply with the city’s more futuristic features.
Also worth visiting is the Singapore Zoo, which boasts of attractions such as the Night Safari, a giant panda forest, and Jurong Bird Park.
Pros and Cons of Singapore Life
As with any country, living in Singapore has its pros and cons. Here are some of the most significant for people planning to move to the country:
- Temperatures are comfortably warm throughout the year, ranging from around 23 °C in December and January to about 32 °C in April and May.
- The transportation system is among the best in the world, with the buses and the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) subway trains being especially convenient and easily accessible.
- The country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, with only 33,608 crime cases in a population of over five million in 2016. There was a noticeable decrease in property offenses, housebreaking, and theft from 2014 to 2015.
- Healthcare is world-class and reasonably priced, even for non-residents. Singapore’s healthcare system placed sixth in the World Health Organization’s health systems ranking in 2000, and first in Bloomberg’s 2014 rankings.
- Housing and accommodation options are abundant. Although non-residents are not allowed to own Housing and Development Board (HDB) apartments, they may rent rooms and even entire flats from Singaporean owners.
- The humidity can reach fairly high levels, from 64% to 96% throughout the day. Humidity levels remain fairly constant throughout the year, although December is usually the most humid.
- It rains almost constantly during the Southwest Monsoon season, which takes place from June to September. You could expect as much as 86.3 inches of total precipitation during this period.
- Cars–and car ownership–are quite expensive. In addition to customs duties, taxes, and insurance fees, you will also have to pay for a Certificate of Entitlement. You will also have to pay ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) tolls for using the roads, with higher fees charged during peak hours.
- Unplanned medical procedures may entail high upfront costs. Most hospitals do not accept settlements directly from insurance companies, requiring patients to pay the consultation fee and other services upfront.
- Rent is pretty expensive, especially close to the central business district. A room in an HDB apartment will cost about $700 to $2,000 a month. Rent for an entire unit could cost up to $4,500 monthly.