Desperate for a date, Singapore courts matchmakers

Singapore is playing matchmaker again. Desperate to boost its fertility rate, the government of the city-state says it will fund new services and activities that encourage dating.

The government said on Friday it will pay up to 80 percent of costs up to S$50,000 (USD$32,090) for approved projects that "provide gender-balanced social interaction opportunities to singles".

Interested parties can apply at

Singapore is on a drive to get its hard-working citizens to mix and mingle more often, introducing campaigns such as "Romancing Singapore" and offering financial incentives to encourage bigger families.

The island-state ranked 40th out of 41 countries in a survey on how frequently people have sex, according to the Durex Global Sex Survey published last December.

With just 4.4 million people, Singapore cannot afford to see its population shrink as that could affect its labour market and talent pool.

Its fertility rate, defined as the average number of babies born to women during their reproductive years, hit a low of 1.24 last year, below the 2.1 needed to sustain the population.

The fertility rate was as high as 6.0 in the late 1950s.

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