Founded in 1819 by Sir Thomas
Stamford Raffles, Singapore was a British colony until 1959,
when it became autonomous within the Commonwealth. On Sept. 16,
1963, it joined with Malaya, Sarawak, and Sabah to form the
Federation of Malaysia. Tensions between Malayans, dominant in
the federation, and ethnic Chinese, dominant in Singapore , led
to an agreement under which Singapore became a separate nation,
Aug. 9, 1965.
Singapore is one of the world's largest ports. Standards in
health, education, and housing are high. International banking
has grown. The government, dominated by a single party, has
taken strong actions to suppress dissent.
Population: 3,396,924. Age distrib. (%): <15: 23; 65+: 7. Pop.
density: 13,753 per sq. mi. Urban: 100%. Ethnic groups: Chinese
76%, Malay 15%, Indian 6%. Principal languages: Chinese, Malay,
Tamil, English (all official). Religions: Buddhist and Taoist,
Muslim, Christian, Hindu.
Geography: Area: 247 sq. mi. Location: Off tip of Malayan
Peninsula in SE Asia. Neighbors: Nearest are Malaysia on N,
Indonesia on S. Topography: Singapore is a flat, formerly swampy
island. The nation includes 40 nearby islets. Capital:
Government: Type: Republic. Head of state: Pres. Ong Teng Cheong;
b Jan 22, 1936; in office: Sept. 2, 1993. Head of government:
Prime Min. Goh Chok Tong; b May 20, 1941; in office: Nov. 28,
1990. Defense: 6% of GDP (1993 est.). Active troop strength:
Economy: Industries: Shipbuilding, oil refining, electronics,
banking, food and rubber processing, biotechnology. Arable land:
4%. Fish catch (1994): 11,000 metric tons. Electricity prod.
(1993): 17 bil kWh. Labor force: 34% finance, business, other
serv.; 26% manuf.; 23% comm.
Finance: Monetary unit: Dollar (June 1996: 1.41 = $1 US). Gross
domestic product (1994): $57 bln.* Per capita GDP: $19,940.
Imports (1994): $102.4 bln.; partners: Japan 22%, Malaysia 16%,
U.S. 15%, Taiwan 4%. Exports (1994): $96.4 bln.; partners:
Malaysia 20%, U.S. 19%, Hong Kong 9%, Japan 7%. Tourism (1993):
$5.8 bil. National budget (FY 1993-94): $10.5 bil. International
reserves (Mar. 1996): $70.3 bil. Consumer prices (change in
Transport: Motor vehicles: in use: 341,000 passenger cars,
134,000 comm. vehicles. Civil aviation: 28 bil passenger-mi.; 1
airport. Chief port: Singapore .
Communications: Television sets: 1 per 4.5 persons. Radios: 1
per 3.6 persons. Telephones: 1 per 2.3 persons. Daily newspaper
circ.: 350 per 1,000 pop.
Health: Life expectancy at birth (1996): 75 male; 81 female.
Births (per 1,000 pop.): 16. Deaths (per 1,000 pop.): 5. Natural
increase: 1.2%. Hospital beds: 1 per 275 persons. Physicians: 1
per 693 persons. Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births 1996):
Education: Literacy (1993): 91%.
Major International Organizations: UN (WTO, IMF, WHO), the
Embassy: 3501 International Pl. NW 20008; 537-3100.
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