Nation at a Glance - Singapore

History

Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but was ousted 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.

Location: Southeastern Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia

Border Countries: 0 km

Total Area: 697 sq km Land: 687 sq km Water: 10 sq km

Climate: Tropical; hot, humid, rainy; two distinct monsoon seasons - northeastern monsoon (December to March) and southwestern monsoon (June to September); inter-monsoon - frequent afternoon and early evening thunderstorms

Terrain: Lowlying, gently undulating central plateau

Natural resources: Fish, deepwater ports

Land use: Agricultural land: 1% arable land 0.9%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 0% Forest: 3.3% Other: 95.7% (2011 est.)

Ethnic groups: Chinese 74.2%, Malay 13.3%, Indian 9.2%, Other 3.3% (2013 est.)

Languages: Mandarin (official) 36.3%, English (official) 29.8%, Malay (official) 11.9%, Hokkien 8.1%, Cantonese 4.1%, Tamil (official) 3.2%, Teochew 3.2%, other Indian languages 1.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.1%, Other 1.1% (2010 est.)

Religions: Buddhist 33.9%, Muslim 14.3%, Taoist 11.3%, Catholic 7.1%, Hindu 5.2%, other Christian 11%, Other 0.7%, None 16.4% (2010 est.)

Population: 5,781,728 (July 2016 est.)

Literacy: 96.8%; Male: 98.6%; Female: 95% (2015 est.)

Administrative divisions: None

Economy: 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 higher than that of most developed countries. Unemployment is very low. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly of electronics, petroleum products, chemicals, medical and optical devices, pharmaceuticals, and on Singapore’s vibrant transportation, business, and financial services sectors. The economy contracted 0.6% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but has continued to grow since 2010. Growth from 2012-2017 was slower than during the previous decade, a result of slowing structural growth - as Singapore reached high-income levels - and soft global demand for exports. Growth recovered to 3.6% in 2017 with a strengthening global economy. The government is attempting to restructure Singapore’s economy to reduce its dependence on foreign labor, raise productivity growth, and increase wages amid slowing labor force growth and an aging population. Singapore has attracted major investments in advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology production and will continue efforts to strengthen its position as Southeast Asia's leading financial and technology hub. Singapore is a signatory of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and a party to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations with nine other ASEAN members plus Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. In 2015, Singapore formed, with the other ASEAN members, the ASEAN Economic Community.

Agriculture - products: Orchids, vegetables; poultry, eggs; fish, ornamental fish

Industries: 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

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