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Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia. It lies off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula and is 137 kilometres (85 mi) north of the equator. The country's territory consists of the lozenge-shaped main island, commonly referred to as Singapore Island in English and Pulau Ujong in Malay, and more than 60 significantly smaller islets. Singapore is separated from Peninsular Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to the north, and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to the south. The country is highly urbanised, and little of the original vegetation remains. The country's territory has consistently expanded through land reclamation.

Singapore is one of the world's major commercial hubs, with the fourth-biggest financial centre and one of the five busiest ports. Its globalised and diversified economy depends heavily on trade, especially manufacturing, which represented 26 percent of Singapore's GDP in 2005. In terms of purchasing power parity, Singapore has the third-highest per capita income in the world but one of the world's highest income inequalities. It places highly in international rankings with regard to education, healthcare, and economic competitiveness. Just over five million people live in Singapore, of which approximately two million are foreign-born. While Singapore is diverse, ethnic Asians predominate: 75 percent of the population is Chinese, with significant minorities of Malays, Indians, and Eurasians. There are four official languages, English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil, and the country promotes multiculturalism through a range of official policies.

Singapore is a unitary multiparty parliamentary republic, with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People's Action Party has won every election since self-government began in 1959. The dominance of the PAP, coupled with a low level of press freedom and suppressed civil liberties and political rights, has led to Singapore being classified as a semi-authoritarian regime. One of the five founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Singapore is also the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, and a member of the East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth. Singapore's rapid development has given it significant influence in global affairs, leading some analysts to identify it as a middle power.

Geography
Outline of Singapore and the surrounding islands and waterways. Singapore consists of 63 islands, including the main island, widely known as Singapore Island, or Pulau Ujong in Malay. There are two man-made connections to Johor, Malaysia: the Johor–Singapore Causeway in the north, and the Tuas Second Link in the west. Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the largest of Singapore's smaller islands. The highest natural point is Bukit Timah Hill at 166 m (545 ft).

The country is projected to grow by another 100 km2 (40 sq mi) by 2030. Some projects involve merging smaller islands through land reclamation to form larger, more functional islands, as has been done with Jurong Island. Close to 10 percent of Singapore's land has been set aside for parks and nature reserves, and the network of nature reserves, parks, park connectors, nature ways, tree-lined roads and other natural areas have also enhanced the sense of green space in the city.

Climate
Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate with no distinctive seasons, uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. Temperatures usually range from 22 to 35 °C (72 to 95 °F). Relative humidity averages around 79% in the morning and 73% in the afternoon. April and May are the hottest months, with the wetter monsoon season from November to January. From July to October, there is often haze caused by bush fires in neighbouring Indonesia. Although Singapore does not observe daylight saving time (DST), it follows the GMT+8 time zone, one hour ahead of the typical zone for its geographical location.

Demographics
As of 2012, the population of Singapore was 5.3 million people, of whom 3.3 million (62%) are citizens, while the rest (38%) are permanent residents or foreign workers/students. Twenty-three percent of Singaporean citizens are foreign born. There are about half a million permanent residents in Singapore in 2012. The resident population does not take into account the 11 million annual visitors to Singapore.

The median age of Singaporeans is 37, and the average household size is 3.5 persons. Due to scarcity of land, four out of five Singaporeans live in subsidised, high-rise, public housing apartments known as Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, after the board responsible for public housing in the country. Live-in domestic helpers are quite common in Singapore, and there are nearly 200,000 domestic helpers there.In 2010, three quarters of Singaporean residents live in properties that are equal to or larger than a four-room HDB flat or in private housing. The rate of home ownership is 87%.

 


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