The Parsi community is shrinking but not in Singapore
Globally, the Parsi community is shrinking so fast from an ever- declining birth rate that India is now campaigning for Parsis to make childbearing a duty.
One such campaign advertisement earlier this year went: “Be responsible. Don’t wear a condom tonight. Our numbers dwindle… Which is why, if you’re married, maybe you should think about playing your part very seriously.”
Very seriously indeed, so much so that the Indian government has set aside 100 million rupees (S$2.1 million) for a scheme to encourage Parsi couples to have more children.
Two key reasons for the decline in numbers: many in the community are not marrying – 30 per cent of Parsis never marry, and, if they do marry, they do so later in life, thus decreasing their chances of having children as a woman’s fertility in general declines with age.
The Parsi community is more Westernised, with some delaying marriage till they are financially more stable, and Parsi women preferring to focus on their careers first and starting a family later.
But in Singapore, it seems that the Parsi community has bucked the trend, doubling to about 300 Parsis from 15 years ago.
More Parsi people have been coming from India and other countries to Singapore, mainly due to the job opportunities available here, says Mr Rustom Ghadiali, president of the Parsi Zoroastrian Association of Singapore (PZA). Most of them have become permanent residents. About a fifth of the 300-strong community today were born here.