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Household incomes, living standards have gone up in five years

01 Aug 2019 2 min read

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Households across all income groups are earning more compared to five years ago, and mostly at a higher rate than what they are spending.

Singapore resident households’ average monthly household income rose to $11,780 from $10,470, an increase of 2.2 per cent a year in dollar terms after factoring in inflation, said the Department of Statistics (SingStat) in its latest findings, released on 31 July 2019.

Spending on goods and services also went up to $4,910 a month from $4,720 five years before, a growth of 0.8 per cent a year.

The household expenditure survey, done once every five years, is based on data collected in 2017 and 2018 for Singaporean and permanent resident households. 

SingStat noted that households in the lowest 20 per cent income group were the only ones whose annual expenses exceeded their income: their expenditure grew by 3 per cent while income grew by 2.8 per cent. Among these households, 36.7 per cent were headed by people aged 65 and older.

Housing, food and transport collectively made up the biggest portion or 62 per cent of monthly household expenditure, down slightly from the 65 per cent in the previous survey.

On average, households spent $810 a month on food serving services compared with $760 previously, mainly due to higher spending on restaurants, cafes and pubs. Separately, average monthly expenditure on transport fell to $780 a month from $810 previously, mainly due to a decrease in spending on private road transport like personal cars. 

Home ownership rates and common household appliances, indicators of the standard of living, remained high.

Home ownership was at 89 per cent while ownership of household appliances like televisions, washing machines and mobile phones was near universal – between 96 and 98 per cent – among all income groups. Households in the lowest 20 per cent for income saw significant increases in their ownership of air-conditioners, as well as their access to Internet.