Singapore’s Household Expenditure Survey

Singapore’s Household Expenditure Survey

The household expenditure survey is conducted by the Singapore Department of Statistics every five years among households in Singapore. The latest survey 2017/18 involved over 13,000 households and took more than one year to complete. Its findings, which were released on 31 July 2019 showed improvements in average monthly household income and standard of living. To find out the definition of standard of living, you may sign up for economics tuition with a reputable economics tutor.

Average Monthly Household Income

The average monthly household income is defined as the income from all sources earned by all the family members who live together. It includes regular income from employment, business, investment as well as government transfers. You may consult your economics tutor in your economics tuition class for a detailed explanation about household income.

In the 2017/18 Survey, average monthly household income was S$11,780, a 12.5 per cent increase from S$10,470 in the 2012/13 survey. This translates into a 2.4 per cent increase per annum in nominal terms before factoring in inflation and a 2.2 per cent in real terms. For the top 20 percentile, average monthly household income increased by 1.6 per cent per annum in nominal terms and 1.5 per cent in real terms. In contrast, for the bottom 20 percentile, average monthly household income increased by 2.8 per cent per annum in nominal terms and 2.9 per cent in real terms. Notably, residents living in HDB 1- and 2-room flats enjoyed the highest growth in their average monthly household income at more than 6 per cent per annum. With guidance from your economics tutor in economics tuition, explain its implications on Singapore’s income inequality. You may approach your economics tutor for the definition of income inequality.

Average Monthly Household Expenditure

Average monthly household expenditure was S$4,910, a four per cent increase from S$4,720 five years ago. This translate into a 0.8 per cent increase per annum. Overall, income growth outpaced expenditure growth for across various income groups, except for the bottom 20 percentile which saw their expenditure grow at 3 per cent per annum, higher than the 2.8 per cent income growth in nominal terms. In discussion with your economics tutor in economics tuition, propose some government policies in aid of these low-income families.

The survey also shed light on the main categories of goods that local households spent their money on. The top three categories are housing, food and transport. According to the survey, expenditure on public transport like MRT and buses decreased while expenditure on private hire cars increased. This is not surprising given that Grab has made private hire cars highly affordable. The introduction of private hire cars has brought about revolutionary changes to our daily transport. This has been discussed in depth in multiple articles published on the website of Economics Cafe Learning Centre, the best economics tuition centre in Singapore. Economics Cafe Learning Centre is founded by Mr Edmund Quek, the best economics tutor who has more than two decades of experience in teaching economics tuition.

It is also interesting to note that online expenditure increased. Among all the households surveyed, 60 per cent made purchases online, doubling the number in the 2012/13 survey. They also spent a higher percentage of their income online as compared with 5 years ago. You may approach your economics tutor in economics tuition to find out the various economic implications of the prevalence of e-commerce.

Most importantly, the survey showed that ownership of some common consumer durables increased among local households, indicating a higher standard of living. Almost all households surveyed owned TVs, washing machines and mobile phones. There were also more households who had air-conditioners and internet access. Home ownership remained high at close to 90 per cent, a testament to the success of Singapore’s Home Ownership Scheme.

Linda Geng

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