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When it was first established in 1984 as SDU, it functioned on its own, organising activities for its members without the help of commercial agencies.
It was only in 2006 that the then SDU decided on a major change in approach: it let the private sector be the main provider of matchmaking and dating services, focusing instead on accrediting and funding private dating agencies and projects.
According to the government, non-graduates did not seem to have any difficulty in finding partners.
However, the Social Development Service (SDS) was set up a year after the SDU to promote marriages among non-graduates.
The number of marriages has steadily increased over the years from 2004 (22,189) to 2009 (26,081) and crude marriage rate (per 1000 resident population) has been on the rise from 6.4 in 2007 to 6.6 in 2009. The mean age for first marriage has increased from 28.7 to 29.8 (males) and 26.2 to 27.5 (females) over the last 10 years.
Lee had also expressed worry that the dearth of children produced by graduate women would lead to the faltering of the economy and ultimately a decline in society.
Although Lee had not explicitly stated that the SDU would be set up in response this problem, he had promised that tough measures would be taken by the government to curb the problem.
In 2003, SDU reported a significant increase in marriage figures for its members over the years, from 2,789 in 1999 to 4,050 in 2003.
Over the first 2 decades since the SDU was first set up, SDU reported that more than 33,000 members were married (This includes many young Singaporeans who would have got married irrespective of SDU being in existence or not).