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Flag of Singapore
Map of Singapore
Introduction Singapore
Founded as a British trading colony in 1819, Singapore joined Malaysia in 1963, but withdrew two years later and became independent. It subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries, with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world's busiest) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.
Geography Singapore
Southeastern Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia
Geographic coordinates:
1 22 N, 103 48 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
total: 692.7 sq km
water: 10 sq km
land: 682.7 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
193 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: within and beyond territorial sea, as defined in treaties and practice
territorial sea: 3 NM
tropical; hot, humid, rainy; two distinct monsoon seasons - Northeastern monsoon from December to March and Southwestern monsoon from June to September; inter-monsoon - frequent afternoon and early evening thunderstorms
lowland; gently undulating central plateau contains water catchment area and nature preserve
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Singapore Strait 0 m
highest point: Bukit Timah 166 m
Natural resources:
fish, deepwater ports
Land use:
arable land: 1.64%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 98.36% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
industrial pollution; limited natural fresh water resources; limited land availability presents waste disposal problems; seasonal smoke/haze resulting from forest fires in Indonesia
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
focal point for Southeast Asian sea routes
People Singapore
4,452,732 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.6% (male 404,212; female 378,660)
15-64 years: 75.3% (male 1,630,696; female 1,724,532)
65 years and over: 7.1% (male 137,512; female 177,120) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
3.46% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
12.78 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
4.28 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
26.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
3.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.29 years
female: 83.47 years (2002 est.)
male: 77.34 years
Total fertility rate:
1.23 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.19% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
4,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
210 (1999 est.)
noun: Singaporean(s)
adjective: Singapore
Ethnic groups:
Chinese 76.7%, Malay 14%, Indian 7.9%, other 1.4%
Buddhist (Chinese), Muslim (Malays), Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist, Confucianist
Chinese (official), Malay (official and national), Tamil (official), English (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.5%
male: 97%
female: 89.8% (1999)
Government Singapore
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Singapore
conventional short form: Singapore
Government type:
parliamentary republic
Administrative divisions:
9 August 1965 (from Malaysia)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 9 August (1965)
3 June 1959, amended 1965 (based on preindependence State of Singapore Constitution)
Legal system:
based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
21 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Sellapan Rama (S. R.) NATHAN (since 1 September 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Chok Tong GOH (since 28 November 1990) and Deputy Prime Ministers Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Hsien Loong LEE (since 28 November 1990) and Keng Yam Tony TAN (since 1 August 1995)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president, responsible to Parliament
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 28 August 1999 (next to be held by August 2005); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president; deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
election results: Sellapan Rama (S. R.) NATHAN elected president unopposed
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament (84 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); note - in addition, there are up to nine nominated members; the losing opposition candidate who came closet to winning a seat may be appointed as a "nonconstituency" member
elections: last held 3 November 2001 (next to be held 25 June 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - PAP 75.3% (in contested constituencies), other 24.7%; seats by party - PAP 82, WP 1, SDA 1
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (chief justice is appointed by the president with the advice of the prime minister, other judges are appointed by the president with the advice of the chief justice); Court of Appeals
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [leader NA]; People's Action Party or PAP [Chok Tong GOH, secretary general] - the governing party; Singapore Democratic Alliance or SDA [CHIAM See Tong] (includes Singapore People's Party or SPP [CHIAM See Tong], Singapore Democratic Party or SDP [CHEE Soon Juan], National Solidarity Party [leader NA], Singapore Justice Party [leader NA], and Singapore Malay National Organization [leader NA]); Workers' Party or WP [J. B. JEYARETNAM]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Heng Chee CHAN
consulate(s): New York
consulate(s) general: San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 537-0876
telephone: [1] (202) 537-3100
chancery: 3501 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Franklin L. LAVIN
embassy: 27 Napier Road, Singapore 258508
mailing address: PSC Box 470, FPO AP 96534-0001
telephone: [65] 6476-9100
FAX: [65] 6476-9232
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white; near the hoist side of the red band, there is a vertical, white crescent (closed portion is toward the hoist side) partially enclosing five white five-pointed stars arranged in a circle
Economy Singapore
Economy - overview:
Singapore, a highly developed and successful free-market economy, enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in electronics and manufacturing, and was hard hit in 2001 by the global recession and the slump in the technology sector. In 2001, GDP contracted by 2.2%. The economy is expected to recover in 2002 in response to improvements in the US economy, and GDP growth for 2002 is projected to be 3% to 4%. In the longer term the government hopes to establish a new growth path that will be less vulnerable to the external business cycle than the current export-led model, but is unlikely to abandon efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia's financial and high-tech hub.
purchasing power parity - $106.3 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-2.2% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $24,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NEGL%
industry: 33%
services: 67% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
2.19 million (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
financial, business, and other services 35%, manufacturing 21%, construction 13%, transportation and communication 9%, other 22%
Unemployment rate:
4.7% (2001 est.)
revenues: $27.9 billion
expenditures: $19.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.4 billion
electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, entrepot trade, biotechnology
Industrial production growth rate:
-17.5% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
27.9 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
25.947 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
rubber, copra, fruit, orchids, vegetables; poultry, eggs, fish, ornamental fish
$122 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment (including electronics), consumer goods, chemicals, mineral fuels
Exports - partners:
Malaysia 18%, US 17%, Hong Kong 8%, Japan 7.5%, Taiwan 6%, Thailand 4.3%, China 4%, South Korea 3.6%, Germany 3%, Netherlands 3% (2000)
$116 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Japan 17%, Malaysia 17%, US 15%, China 5%, Taiwan 4.4%, Thailand 4.3%, South Korea 3.6%, Saudi Arabia 3% (2000)
Debt - external:
$8.3 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Singapore dollar (SGD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Singapore dollars per US dollar - 1.8388 (January 2002), 1.7917 (2001), 1.7240 (2000), 1.6950 (1999), 1.6736 (1998), 1.4848 (1997)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Singapore
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.95 million (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
2.74 million (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: major consideration given to serving business interests; excellent international service
domestic: excellent domestic facilities
international: submarine cables to Malaysia (Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia), Indonesia, and the Philippines; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean), and 1 Inmarsat (Pacific Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 16, shortwave 2 (1998)
2.6 million (2000)
Television broadcast stations:
6 (2000)
1.33 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
9 (2000)
Internet users:
2.31 million (2002)
Transportation Singapore
total: 38.6 km
narrow gauge: 38.6 km 1.000-m gauge
note: there is also a 83 km mass transit system with 48 stations
total: 3,150 km
paved: 3,066 km (including 150 km of expressways)
unpaved: 84 km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
total: 876 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 20,686,612 GRT/32,647,743 DWT
ships by type: bulk 131, cargo 100, chemical tanker 81, combination bulk 10, combination ore/oil 6, container 168, liquefied gas 35, livestock carrier 2, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 287, refrigerated cargo 6, roll on/roll off 5, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 11, vehicle carrier 32
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Australia 7, Belgium 6, China 12, Denmark 27, Germany 17, Greece 4, Hong Kong 44, Indonesia 8, Japan 52, Malaysia 4, Monaco 22, Netherlands 2, Norway 42, Philippines 6, Russia 3, Slovenia 1, South Korea 10, Sweden 13, Switzerland 7, Taiwan 46, Tanzania 2, Thailand 22, United Arab Emirates 4, United Kingdom 14, United States 1 (2002 est.)
9 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 9
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Singapore
Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force, People's Defense Force, Police Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,354,857 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 986,101 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$4.47 billion (FY01/02 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
4.9% (FY01/02)
Transnational Issues Singapore
Disputes - international:
Singapore and Malaysia are considering taking the unresolved dispute over Pulau Batu Putih (Pedra Branca Island) to ICJ; Malaysia concerned over Singapore's land reclamation works on Johor, which affects the maritime boundary, shipping lanes, and water ecology in the Tebrau Reach
Illicit drugs:
as a transportation and financial services hub, Singapore is vulnerable, despite strict laws and enforcement, to use as a transit point for Golden Triangle heroin and as a venue for money laundering

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003