Foreigners make up 30 pct of Singapore's population

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SINGAPORE, Oct 22 (Reuters) Foreigners living in Singapore make up 30 per cent of the city-state's population, up from 14 percent in 1990, following a decade-long policy of attracting people to boost economic growth, according to government figures released today.

Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng said Singaporeans accounted for 3.2 million or 70 percent of the city-state's 4.5 million population as of mid-2006, in a response to queries from opposition Member of Parliament Sylvia Lim.

Foreigners with permanent residency status accounted for 10.3 per cent of the population, while people from overseas on work passes or study visas and their dependents made up 19.5 per cent.

The government in recent years has not given figures for the breakdown of its population into Singaporeans and permanent residents.

Singaporeans accounted for 86 per cent and 74 per cent of the total population in 1990 and 2000 respectively, Wong added.

Singapore -- one of the most densely populated countries with a land area of about 704 square kilometres -- said earlier this year it wanted to boost its population to 6.5 million in coming decades to further broaden its economy.

Singapore has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

REUTERS SG BD1633

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