Singapore would not be the country that it is today without its diverse population and the very impressive cultural richness and heritage they bring with them. Singapore's population has done much to establish the country's position on the global stage in many different ways.

Population of Singapore

The population of Singapore involves the population density, ethnic groups, distinct cultures, and business communities which have resided in Singapore over the years. As of July 2019, the population of Singapore stands at 5,871,757 based on the estimate given by the United Nations. The country, known as the Republic of Singapore, is located in Southeast Asia. It is an island country situated off the coast of the Malay Peninsula and is 137 kilometres north of the equator. The area of Singapore is 710 square kilometres, and the country is ranked 114th in the world with regard to population.

The Singapore population growth rate is 0.81% as of 2019. The city is a melting pot of diverse cultures because of the easing of immigration policies that the government put in place many years ago. There are people of various races and nationalities living in Singapore. This also makes the nation suitable for investors as they can find employees for different white-collar as well as blue-collar jobs.

Singapore has four official languages which are Malay, Mandarin, English, and Tamil. Malay is the national language, while English is the primary working language in the country. The English language is also used as the medium of instruction in schools and other educational institutions, but students are taught second languages such as Malay, Tamil, or Mandarin.

Other than the main languages spoken in Singapore, the locals also speak Singlish, a patois language. This language is known as Singapore Colloquial English by academicians. Due to the rich and diverse cultures that exist in Singapore, there are many colorful festivals celebrated in the city-state and hard-working people from various communities. The liberalism and relatively low tax burden in the country have made foreigners work easily and settle quickly. The Prime Minister is the head of the government in Singapore. The present Prime Minister of Singapore is Lee Hsien Loong, the third Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.


Various Ethnic Groups in Singapore

The population of Singapore mainly consists of the Chinese, Malays, and Indians. However, there are also many Eurasians as well as people of Pakistani, Indonesian, Middle Eastern, and Sri Lankan descent. The country came under the British colonial system that brought many changes to the history of the country. The original inhabitants were Malay people who were fishermen and generally spoke the Malay language.

The arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in the country in the year 1819 changed much about Singapore. It remained a British trading colony and outpost where local business flourished. Schools were established to teach native languages. In the year 1823, the first constitution of Singapore was drafted; it outlawed slavery and gambling. This also made people from various communities and merchants move to Singapore, making it a vast business community and leading to the development of the economy.

The primary ethnic groups residing in Singapore are as follows:

  • Chinese, who constitute 76.2% of the population
  • Malays, who constitute 15% of the population
  • Indians, who constitute 7.4% of the population
  • Eurasians, who constitute less than 1% of the population

The community in Singapore is ethnically diverse with various ethnic groups such as Chinese, Malay, and Tamil playing essential roles in the development of the country. This unique combination of people makes them hardworking and disciplined. It also helps them follow a principle-based approach towards their business.

People living in Singapore dwell in the public housing system which is mostly comprised of four-room flats set up by the Housing and Development Board. More than 31% of the Singaporeans live in this type of housing system. The number of people living in apartments and condominiums has risen over the past few decades. More than 15% of the population live in an apartment or condominium. Foreigners who choose to live in Singapore might go on to possess permanent residency there.


Culture of Singapore

The culture of Singapore is diverse. Many racial and religious groups in Singapore make the country’s festival celebrations colorful. There are harmonious interactions amongst the various cultural groups in Singapore. All year round, there are many vibrant festivals in the country. There are many distinct religions in Singapore including the following:

  • Buddhism (33.2% of the population)
  • Taoism (11% of the population)
  • Christianity (18.7% of the population)
  • Islam (14% of the population)
  • Hinduism (5% of the population)
  • Sikhism and other religions (0.6% of the population)

The government encourages religious harmony amongst the people residing in Singapore. One of the various examples of this religious harmony can be seen in the Loyang Tua Pek Kong Temple which is located on Loyang Way. It has ties to the three religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism.

Another example can be seen on South Bridge Road, where one can find the Sri Mariamman Temple and Masjid Jamae. These examples showcase the religious harmony and respect towards all religions in the country.

The festivals celebrated in Singapore also reflect the mixture of various ethnic groups. Places such as Chinatown, Geylang, and Little India come to life during celebrations. The following are some of the festivals that are celebrated across the country with great pomp and excitement:

  • Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year is celebrated each year in either January or February. Visitors can enjoy the Chingay parade and dragon dance at Marina Bay.
  • National Day is celebrated every year on August 9 and is one of the favorite festivals in the country. One can witness the parade, great dance performances, and fireworks at Marina Bay. Fireworks can also be seen from the Singapore Flyer. This festival instills pride in every Singaporean.
  • Hari Raya Puasa is an Islamic festival that marks the end of the month of Ramadan, fasting month. The meaning of this festival is “The Day of Celebration.” During this festival, one can enjoy many delicacies at the Geylang Serai Bazaar. Rituals are also performed near the Sultan Mosque.
  • Diwali is a Hindu festival that is celebrated in the country in either October or November. People offer pujas and offerings at the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. Many people go shopping at the Festival Village and Mustafa Centre. Little India is completely lit up and illuminated with fireworks.
  • The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated by both Buddhists and Taoists alike. The festival is celebrated in either August or September. People visit the graves of their ancestors to offer them food. This festival is also known as the Yulan festival or the Zhongyuan Festival.

Other than these, there are many other festivals and cultural practices that take place amongst the Chinese, Malay, and Indian communities. Even other minor communities also celebrate festivals with great zeal and energy. There is no restriction from the government to celebrate the festivals according to religious practices, but people must keep in mind that they do not commit acts of racism, instigate a riot, or send any wrong message. People who want to witness festivals from other cultural groups are free to participate with their friends or colleagues.

Want to Start business in Singapore
Want to Start business in Singapore

Business Communities in Singapore

The population of Singapore consists of many different communities, but three main business communities thrive in Singapore. These are Chinese, Malays, and Indians. Out of these, the Chinese are the dominant community. They are followed by the Indians, who are subsequently followed by the Malays. There are also many foreign employees who are working in Singapore in the financial, technological, and R&D fields in various multinational companies (MNCs).

Despite the diverse racial mix in Singapore, the government ensures every race has equal opportunities by enforcing labor laws to fight against racial discrimination.

Those who are looking forward to starting a business in Singapore should know how important it is to understand the local customs of their Singaporean counterparts. Those who are doing business with Muslims should avoid conducting business during Ramadan or on Fridays, nor should they serve alcohol or pork. Those who are dealing with Hindus should not serve beef.

Some of the other information which is important to know regarding the three major business communities includes the following:

  • The primary meal of Singaporeans is lunch, so it is advisable not to schedule any meetings during this time.
  • The person who invited someone else to any social or business event is to pay the bill, but the other party can reciprocate during the next event.
  • Small business-related gifts are usually encouraged instead of presenting alcohol, anything made out of pigskin, or clocks.
  • Punctuality is a hallmark of the Singaporean entrepreneur. Those who are running late for a meeting must call to specify such as Singaporeans expect punctuality from other parties too.

Foreigners are encouraged to invest and work in Singapore by the government. The government has eased the immigration policies, although some restrictions remain. Foreigners can take the advice of any law firm or firm providing business services to get a deeper insight into the rules prevalent in the country for the foreigners. This has undoubtedly paved the way for global talent to permanently reside in Singapore and work here by contributing to economic growth.

As foreigners are seen as valuable members of Singapore’s society, there are many methods to help foreigners to relocate and settle without any hassles in Singapore. Any business owner, whether a startup, mid-sized MNC, or large-sized MNC owner, will be able to be assisted by the government under the country’s law.


Singapore has emerged as a globally-recognized country that respects cultural and racial differences and works towards promoting harmony amongst different ethnic groups. Those who are in the country for the first time should seek thorough advice from local colleagues who would be able to provide much help and guidance.