Singapore’s median household income fell 2.5% in 2020

February 9, 2021

HDB flats in Ghim Moh

In 2020, resident household received an average of $6,308 per household member from various government schemes, up from the $4,684 received in 2019.

Singapore saw the median monthly household income from work drop 2.5% to $9,189 in 2020 from $9,425 in 2019, reflecting COVID-19’s impact, reported Channel News Asia (CNA) citing a report by the Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS).

After taking into account inflation, the decline stood at 2.4%.

DOS, however, noted that last year’s median household income increased 5.2% from 2015’s $8,666 or 1% per annum in real terms.

Median monthly household income from work per household member fell 1.3%, or 1.2% after adjusting for inflation to $2,886 in 2020 from $2,925 in 2019 – the first drop since 2008/2009 due to the Global Financial Crisis.

The figure, however, increased 14.6% from 2015, or 2.8% per annum in real terms.

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Households in the first to 60th percentile witnessed a $37 to $49 decline in their average household income per member, while households in the 61st to 100th percentile posted a $96 to $337 drop in income.

Upon taking into account inflation, households in the top 90% income groups saw a 1.4% to 3.2% declines in real income, while those in the bottom 10% registered a 6.1% drop in incomes.

From 2015, however, their incomes all increased, with the hikes ranging between 0.6% and 2.9% per year.

The income gap as measured by the Gini coefficient stood at its lowest in two decades, as government transfers narrowed the gap.

The Gini coefficient stands at zero in the event of total income equality and one if there is total inequality.

The city-state’s Gini coefficient last year stood at 0.452, unchanged from 2019, but declined to 0.375 following government transfers and taxes. In 2019, the Gini coefficient was 0.398 after government transfers – which was then a record low.

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“This can be attributed to the significant amount of government support provided during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, especially for households staying in the smaller HDB flats,” said DOS as quoted by CNA.

In 2020, resident household received an average of $6,308 per household member from various government schemes, up from the $4,684 received in 2019.

Those staying in one- and two-room HDB flats received an average of $13,670 per household member, almost twice the transfers received by household staying in three-room HDB flats.

DOS revealed that its analyses focused on resident households with at least one working person. This works out to 86.7% of all resident households last year.

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