Median household income on the rise

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Singapore’s median monthly household income from work rose to $8,666 in 2015 from $8,292 in the previous year, revealed data published by the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday (26 Feb).

This represents a rise of 4.5 percent in nominal terms. With inflation taken into account, this translates to a gain of 4.9 percent in real terms, according to the agency’s annual Key Household Income Trends survey.

In comparison, the median monthly household income from work climbed 3.8 percent per annum in real terms from 2010 to 2015, resulting in a cumulative gain of 20.4 percent.

Household income from work includes employer CPF contributions.

“Taking household size into account, median household income from work per member recorded a 5.0 percent nominal growth or a 5.4 percent real growth in 2015,” said SingStat. This occurred amidst a tight labour market and higher employer CPF contribution rates.

“From 2010 to 2015, the annual growth in real median household income per household member was lower at 3.6 percent.”

Workers with the lowest salaries saw the largest growth due to ongoing government initiatives to boost their wages. Those at the bottom 10 percent of the income bracket saw their income soar by 10.7 percent, followed by 8.3 percent for those in the second lowest decile.

The third highest increase of 7.2 percent was posted by the top 10 percent of households and the 21st to 30th percentile group. For the remaining percentile groups, the income growth ranged from 5.7 percent to 6.7 percent.

Households, including those with no working person, also received $3,985 per member on average from various government schemes in 2015 compared to $3,515 in the year before.

Furthermore, there has been virtually no change in the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, over the past three years. It was 0.463 in 2015, 0.464 in 2014 and 0.463 in 2013. After adjusting for government aid and taxes, the Gini coefficient in 2015 fell from 0.463 to 0.410. A lower figure suggests there is more equal distribution of income.

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