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Real median household income rose by 1.9% per annum over past decade, amid shrinking family sizes: SingStat

SINGAPORE — The median monthly income from work for households in Singapore rose from S$5,600 in 2010 to S$7,744 in 2020, which is a 1.9 per cent increase yearly after adjusting for inflation — a rate slightly higher than the previous decade.

Real median household income rose by 1.9% per annum over past decade, amid shrinking family sizes: SingStat

In 2020, close to 79 per cent of resident households in Singapore lived in government-built flats, lower than the 82.4 per cent in 2010.

  • The real median monthly income from work rose by 1.9 per cent yearly between 2010 and 2020 for resident households
  • When compared on a per household member basis, the increase was highest among Malays due to shrinking household size
  • The proportion of households earning S$20,000 and above has more than doubled
  • More than 97,000 residents aged five and above were unable or found it difficult to perform at least one basic activity
  • Of this group, more than 70 per cent of them aged 65 and above

 

SINGAPORE — The median monthly income from work for households in Singapore rose from S$5,600 in 2010 to S$7,744 in 2020, which is a 1.9 per cent increase yearly after adjusting for inflation — a rate slightly higher than the previous decade.

Amid shrinking household sizes, this meant that the median monthly income for each household member went up from S$1,638 to S$2,463 over the same period, translating to a 2.8 per cent annual increase in real terms.

This increase was the highest among Malay households, with the median household income per member increasing by 3 per cent annually in the last 10 years. However, this is largely due to the fact that the average size of Malay households is shrinking most rapidly. The median income for Malay households continue to lag behind the other ethnic groups. 

The census is done once every 10 years. In the last census conducted, real median monthly household income from work for households in Singapore rose by 1.8 per cent per annum between 2000 and 2010. 

The Department of Statistics (SingStat) released these figures on Friday (June 18), in its second report on the Census of Population 2020. 

Its first report showed that the proportion of singles has increased across all age groups and that, on average, women who still are or have been married are giving birth to fewer children.

Singapore’s population grew 1.1 per cent yearly between 2010 and 2020, its slowest growth rate by decade since 1970, when the Government collected data for its first census.

The following are some of the key takeaways from the demographic data presented in the latest census:

HOUSEHOLD INCOME

Besides an increase in the median household income, the census found that the proportion of resident households that have higher incomes has also risen. The same trend was also seen among households with married couples, excluding those who were not employed.

  • The proportion of households earning at least S$9,000 has gone up from 29.7 per cent in 2010 to 44.2 per cent in 2020

  • The increase was greater among higher-income brackets

  • For example, the proportion of households earning between S$9,000 and S$10,999 grew from 8 per cent to 8.4 per cent

  • For households with salaries from S$17,500 to S$19,999, the proportion went up from 2.2 per cent to 4 per cent

  • Those earning S$20,000 and above more than doubled from 6.6 per cent to 13.9 per cent

Conversely, the number of households with no one employed rose from 10.5 per cent in 2010 to 13.3 per cent in 2020 due to an increase in the number of households only made up of people aged 65 and above.

When asked what were the implications for this widening inequality during a briefing session with the media on Monday, Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said that the Government was doing everything it could to bridge the gaps.

Median household income from work increased across all three major ethnic groups in Singapore.

  • Among the Chinese, real median income from work per household increased by 2.1 per cent yearly between 2010 and 2020

  • For the Malays, the increase was 1.4 per cent

  • Among the Indians, it was 2.2 per cent

After accounting for the household size, the growth in median household income from work for every member in Malay households was the highest.

  • It was a yearly increase of 3 per cent between 2010 and 2020 for the Malays, after adjusting for inflation

  • As for the Chinese, median income for work for each household member went up by 2.9 per cent

  • It went up by 2.5 per cent for the Indians

When asked whether it was still relevant to categorise data based on ethnic groups, Ms Indranee said that the recent racist incidents that have surfaced showed that Singapore will not get to a “post-race situation where it doesn’t matter at all”.

While Singapore works to build a place where people of different races and religions live together in peace, it does not mean that racial or religious data is not needed, she added.

“If you didn’t have this data, then let’s say that a particular ethnic group was not doing well compared to the others, you would have no idea how many… in what areas. You wouldn’t know whether the problem was education… or something else,” Ms Indraneen said.

In turn, the authorities would have no way to make the necessary policy interventions to bridge the gap, she added.

HOUSEHOLD SIZE

Even though the increase in median household income for Malay households was the lowest among the three ethnic groups at 1.4 per cent per annum in real terms, it was the highest when compared based on median household income per member as the average size of Malay households shrank the most in the last 10 years.

  • There were 4.2 members on average in Malay households in 2010, which dropped to 3.7 in 2020

  • It fell from 3.4 to 3.1 for the Chinese

  • Among Indians, household sizes went down from 3.6 to 3.4

Across the population, household sizes shrank from 3.5 individuals on average to 3.2.

The proportion of households with only one person increased from 12.2 per cent to 16 per cent

Households with two people rose from 18.8 per cent to 22.6 per cent

One-person households

Out of the 220,300 households with just one person last year, 55.5 per cent of them were single, a decrease from 57.3 per cent in 2010.

More than 32 per cent were either widowed, divorced or separated, an increase from 27.8 per cent in 2010. The remaining 12.2 per cent in 2020 were married.

Some 51 per cent of one-person households were living in condominiums or four-room or larger Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, an increase from 45.5 per cent in 2010. However, 46 per cent of one-person households still lived in three-room HDB flats or smaller. A small proportion lived in landed property or others.

Households with elders

With the population ageing, the proportion of households with at least one member who was aged 65 and older went up from 24.1 per cent in 2010 to 34.5 per cent last year.

There were also more households who only had members aged 65 and older, up from 4.6 per cent to 9.3 per cent.

HOUSING TYPE

There were 1.37 million resident households in Singapore last year, an increase from 1.15 million in 2010.

Close to 79 per cent lived in HDB flats, a decrease from 82.4 per cent in 2010.

The proportion of resident households that lived in condominiums increased from 11.5 per cent in 2010 to 16 per cent in 2020.

DIFFICULTY PERFORMING BASIC ACTIVITIES

The census found that last year, there were 97,600 residents aged five and older who were unable to or had difficulty performing at least one basic activity, such as seeing, hearing, walking or climbing steps or communicating.

More than 70 per cent from this group, amounting to about 69,400 people, were aged 65 and older. Among them, 93.6 per cent were living with others. Most (83.1 per cent) were living with their spouse or children, or both.

Among residents aged more than five years who could not or had difficulty performing basic activities, 8 per cent of those aged 65 and above had mobility issues — the highest share among all basic activities. Self-care activities such as dressing oneself came in second at 4.2 per cent, and remembering was third at 3.4 per cent.

GEOGRAPHIC SPREAD OF WHERE PEOPLE WORK

Close to 13 per cent of employed residents 15 years old and above worked in the downtown area.

The next three most popular areas of work were:

  • Queenstown (6 per cent)

  • Geylang (5.3 per cent)

  • Bukit Merah (4.7 per cent)

The downtown area had the highest proportion of workers who were younger. Almost two in three were below 45 years old.

Related topics

census population income wage employment housing disabilities

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