Abstract for: From Singlehood to Marriage

Marriage is a key factor in Singapore’s fertility crisis: increasing marriage rates and lowering the median age at first marriage have a direct bearing on the birth rate. However, the trend of Singaporeans not marrying or marrying later has persisted for several years. The two reasons most frequently cited for not marrying are: not having met a suitable partner, and choosing to concentrate on studies or career. To explore the dynamics of available singles in search of a life partner, System Dynamics modeling is used to find the answers to the following questions: What goes on in the search for someone eligible? What factors influence the success of such a search? What are the variables affecting decisions to get married or wait for a better match? What is the relative importance of different sets of variables in influencing such decisions? Some of the findings are that ample supply and consumption of match-making services is counter-productive; and that engaging the help of external parties such as employers, community and religious bodies, educational institutions, professional associations and others to create group participation opportunities for singles can do much more for the marriage rate than relying predominantly on private dating agencies.