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 worlds busiest in terms of tonnage handled) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe.


Location: South-eastern Asia, islands between Malaysia and Indonesia
Geographic coordinates: 1 22 N, 103 48 E
Population: 5,353,494 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 13.8% (male 338,419/female 314,704)

15-64 years: 77% (male 1,774,444/female 1,874,985)

65 years and over: 9.2% (male 196,101/female 242,084) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Singapore

conventional short form: Singapore

local long form: Republic of Singapore

local short form: Singapore

Government type: parliamentary republic
Telephones – main lines in use: 1.984 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 7.307 million (2009)
Airports: 9 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 9

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2012)

Military branches: Singapore Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force (includes Air Defence) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18-21 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 2-year conscript service obligation, with a reserve obligation to age 40 (enlisted) or age 50 (officers) (2008)


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.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes persist with Malaysia over deliveries of fresh water to Singapore, Singapore’s extensive land reclamation works, bridge construction, and maritime boundaries in the Johor and Singapore Straits; in November 2007, the ICJ will hold public hearings as a consequence of the Memorials and Counter memorials filed by the parties in 2003 and 2005 over sovereignty of Pedra Branca Island/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge; Indonesia and Singapore continue to work on finalization of their 1973 maritime boundary agreement by defining unresolved areas north of Indonesia’s Batam Island; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait.