With a tight workforce, reduction in foreign workers and low unemployment, its no surprise that household income is up which means most people are earning more. On the other side of the equation, business may feel the strain of higher labour costs especially if the economy starts to slow down. Hence, though we hope household income will continue to increase, it should be at a sustainable pace amidst a growing economy.
To sum up this news in 3 pointers:
- What is the latest average household income? – The average Singaporean household earned S$10,500 a month in 2012/13 compared to S$8,110 in 2007/08.
- What is the average household expenditure? – The average Singaporean household spent S$4,720 a month on goods and services in 2012/13 compared to S$3,810 in 2007/08.
- What is the trend in household expenditure? – The increase in expenditure is reflected by a change in lifestyle needs. For instance, spending on restaurants, cafes and pubs was at 35 per cent in 2012/13, compared with 27 per cent in 2007/08 and 22 per cent in 2002/03.
For the full article from ChannelNewsAsia here
The average Singaporean household earned S$10,500 a month in 2012/13 and spent S$4,720 a month on goods and services, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Statistics.
By comparison, the average monthly household income was S$8,110 in 2007/08 and the average monthly household expenditure then was S$3,810.
The Household Expenditure Survey, conducted from October 2012 to September 2013, found that household income had risen faster than household expenditure. The average monthly household income rose by 5.3 per cent per annum, while the average household expenditure rose by a lower 4.4 per cent per annum.
LOW-INCOME GROUPS SEE FASTER INCOME GROWTH
Households across all income groups experienced income growth over this period, the survey found. Those in the lowest- to middle-income quintiles saw their income increase by 6.1 to 6.6 per cent per annum, with households in the lowest 20 per cent experiencing significantly faster income growth between 2007/08 and 2012/13 than in the earlier five-year period from 2002/03 to 2007/08.
Across housing types, households living in HDB flats experienced higher annual income growth (5.2 per cent) during the period, compared to those in condominiums and other apartments (3.6 per cent) and landed properties (4.2 per cent).
Households across all income groups also saw increases in their average monthly household expenditure. Households in the middle-income quintile (41st to 60th percentile) experienced the fastest increase in average expenditure compared with other income groups, at 5.5 per cent per annum.
By comparison, average monthly expenditure of households in the lowest 20 per cent and 21st to 40th percentile income groups grew more slowly, at 4.5 per cent per annum and 3.7 per cent per annum respectively.
On average, each member of a low-income household earned about S$6,200 a year, receiving an average of about S$5,500 in Government transfers.
Said Dr Walter Edgar Theseira, Assistant Professor (Division of Economics) at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences: “This is quite a large share of income. The good thing of course is that it means that they are being well supported by Government policy. The issue that we need to be concerned about in the long run, is that for this to be sustainable, they will need to increase the work income by more.”
However, lower-income households are spending more than they earn, spending about S$2,200 when they earned an average of about S$2,000 a month.
Associate Professor Paulin Tay Straughan, who is the deputy head of the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, said this means such households are unable to save, unlike those in the middle and high income groups.
But in targeting assistance, she said the authorities need to find out how much access those from the lower-income group have to essential items – for instance, access to computers for children in lower-income households if it is seen to give children an edge in education.
CHANGES IN LIFESTYLES, SPENDING PATTERNS
In 2012/13, housing, food and transport accounted for the largest shares of household expenditure for all income groups. Collectively, they contributed to 65 per cent of monthly household expenditure on average, up from 64 per cent in 2007/08 and 61 per cent in 2002/03.
The increase in monthly household expenditure was partly due to households consuming better quality and higher-end products and services, the Department of Statistics said.
For instance, spending on restaurants, cafes and pubs was at 35 per cent in 2012/13, compared with 27 per cent in 2007/08 and 22 per cent in 2002/03. Still, meals at hawker centres and food courts continued to constitute the bulk of expenditure within food serving services, the survey found.
Similarly, the average expenditure on transport increased from S$700 to S$810 monthly between 2007/08 and 2012/13, due mainly to higher spending on passenger air travel and private transport. Expenditure on public transport rose marginally from S$160 to S$170 over this period.
The rate of home ownership remained high at 89 per cent in 2012/13. Even among the lowest 20 per cent income group, 82 per cent of households were home owners.
Almost everyone owned television sets and washing machines in 2012/13, at 98 per cent and 96 per cent respectively. More households also opted for better quality items such as Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)/Plasma/Light Emitting Diode (LED) TVs over Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)/projection TVs, the survey found.
Ownership of mobile phones, personal computers and air-conditioners also became more common, not only among the higher-income groups but also among the lower income. About 86 per cent of households living in HDB one- and two-room flats had a mobile line in 2012/13, up from 65 per cent in 2007/08 and 56 per cent in 2002/03. Personal computer ownership increased from 70 per cent in 2002/03 to 77 per cent in 2007/08, and further to 83 per cent in 2012/13.
Said Assoc Prof Straughan: “Moving forward, it means that while most people have, it becomes more critical to identify who is the small minority that continues to be left out of everything, because now the difference between the ultra poor group is going to be so much greater compared to the rest of Singapore society.”