Facts about Singapore

World Facts Index

Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. Singapore subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world's busiest in terms of tonnage handled) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.

Geography of Singapore

Southeastern Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia
1 22 N, 103 48 E
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
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
Geography - note:
focal point for Southeast Asian sea routes

More Geography

Population of Singapore

4,608,167 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 15.6% (male 362,329/female 337,964)
15-64 years: 76.1% (male 1,666,709/female 1,750,736)
65 years and over: 8.3% (male 165,823/female 208,589)
Median age:
37.3 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
2.29 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.71 years
male: 79.13 years
female: 84.49 years
Fertility rate:
1.06 children born/woman
noun: Singaporean(s)
adjective: Singapore
Ethnic groups:
Chinese 76.8%, Malay 13.9%, Indian 7.9%, other 1.4%
Buddhist 42.5%, Muslim 14.9%, Taoist 8.5%, Hindu 4%, Catholic 4.8%, other Christian 9.8%, other 0.7%, none 14.8%
Mandarin 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total : 93.2%
male: 96.7%
female: 89.7%


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Singapore
Government type:
parliamentary republic
9 August 1965 (from Malaysian Federation)
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 S R NATHAN (since 1 September 1999)
note: uses S R NATHAN but his full name and the one used in formal communications is Sellapan RAMANATHAN
head of government: Prime Minister LEE Hsien Loong (since 12 August 2004); Senior Minister GOH Chok Tong (since 12 August 2004); Minister Mentor LEE Kuan Yew (since 12 August 2004); Deputy Prime Ministers Shunmugam JAYAKUMAR (since 12 August 2004) and WONG Kan Seng (since 1 September 2005)
cabinet: appointed by president, responsible to parliament
elections: president elected by popular vote for six-year term; appointed on 17 August 2005; following legislative elections, leader of majority party or leader of majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by president; deputy prime ministers appointed by president.
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 closest to winning a seat may be appointed as a "nonconstituency" member
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


Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP equal to that of the four largest West European countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics and information technology products. It was hard hit from 2001-03 by the global recession, by the slump in the technology sector, and by an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, which curbed tourism and consumer spending. Fiscal stimulus, low interest rates, a surge in exports, and internal flexibility led to vigorous growth in 2004-07 with real GDP growth averaging 7% annually. The government hopes to establish a new growth path that will be less vulnerable to the global demand cycle for information technology products - it has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production - and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia's financial and high-tech hub.

$227.1 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: negligible
industry: 33.9%
services: 66.1%
Inflation rate:
Labor force:
2.28 million
Labor force - by occupation:
financial, business, and other services 49%, manufacturing 18%, construction 6%, transportation and communication 11%, other 16%
revenues: $18.67 billion
expenditures: $18.21 billion
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, offshore platform construction, life sciences, entrepot trade
rubber, copra, fruit, orchids, vegetables, poultry, eggs, fish, ornamental fish
machinery and equipment (including electronics), consumer goods, chemicals, mineral fuels
Export partners:
Malaysia 14.7%, US 11.5%, Hong Kong 10.4%, China 9.5%, Japan 6%, Thailand 4.5%, Taiwan 4.3%, Australia 4.1% 
machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs
Import partners:
Malaysia 14.4%, US 12.4%, China 10.8%, Japan 10.1%, Taiwan 6.2%, Saudi Arabia 4.7%, South Korea 4.5%
Singapore dollar (SGD)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

Copyright 2004 - 2008 worldfacts.us