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What is Singapore’s Average Household Income And Why It Is Different From The Salaries We Earn?

How do your salary and household income compare against others in Singapore?

Compared to countries in the region and even developed cities globally, Singapore is typically seen as a rich and expensive country. In fact, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently placed Singapore as the most expensive city in the world.

As a result, our GDP per capita – defined as the gross domestic output per person – tends to be high too. In 2022, the GDP per capita in Singapore was $114,165. Breaking this down simplistically, our GDP per capita translates into a monthly output of nearly $9,514.75 per month per person in Singapore. This includes even those not working (i.e. too old or young to work, unable to work or unemployed), so the actual output per working person may be much higher.

However, we don’t expect to earn this amount as individuals.

What Is The Average Monthly Household Income In Singapore?

In Singapore, the average monthly household income from work was $13,958 in 2023 – according to the Department of Statistics Singapore. While this may seem like a high number, we should not get our hopes up or feel down if we aren’t achieving this figure yet. Besides, this figure is for household income, and not for an individual’s income.

By its definition, the average household income can be skewed by very high earners in Singapore. In fact, the median monthly household income from work was only $10,869 in 2023. Nevertheless, it’s a positive sign that the median income growth was higher than the average income growth.

  2023 2022 Change
Average Household Income $13,958 $13,124 6.4%
Median Household Income $10,869 $10,099 7.6%

Secondly, the average monthly household income differs quite greatly between families who live in HDB flats and those who live in private properties.

Monthly Household Income by Type of Dwelling ($)
  2023 2022 Change
Average $13,958  $13,124 6.4%
 1- & 2-Room HDB Flat $3,897 $3,588 8.6%
 3-Room HDB Flat $7,750 $7,189 7.8%
 4-Room HDB Flat $11,319 $10,385 9.0%
 5-Room & Executive HDB Flat $14,665 $13,814 6.2%
Condominiums and Other Apartments $22,560 $21,497 4.9%
Landed Properties $28,169 $26,659 5.7%

Source: Department of Statistics Singapore

Naturally, those who live in bigger HDB flats or private properties also tend to earn a larger household income. Another positive sign here is that the smaller households saw bigger percentage increments in their household income. On the other hand, those living in Condominiums and Other Apartments saw the smallest annual income growth.

Of course, average household income also corresponds to the number of persons living in our home. The more working household members, the greater our household income. If we have five household members (for example, father, mother, and three adult children) in a condominium, all working and earning $4,500 each, we would have a household income of over $22,500. However, this doesn’t mean we are richer or better off than a single person who bought their own 4-room flat and earns $9,000 a month.

What we should pay closer attention to is the average monthly household income per household member. This number was $4,699 in 2023 (for resident employed households in Singapore), an increase of about 4.9% from 2022. The median monthly household income per household member, though, was $3,500 in 2023.

2023 2022 Change
Average Household Income per household member $4,699 $4,478 4.9%
Median Household Income per household member $3,500 $3,287 6.5%

Read Also: CPF LIFE VS Retirement Sum Scheme: What’s The Difference?

Average Household Income Per Household Member According To Deciles In Singapore

To understand where we may stand is to look at which decile we fall into.

Average Monthly Household Income per Household Member
  2023 2022 Change
Average $13,958 $13,124 6.4%
Deciles Average Monthly Household Income per Household Member
1st – 10th $706 $689 2.5%
11th – 20th $1,421 $1,347 5.5%
21st – 30th $1,987 $1,864 6.6%
31st – 40th $2,563 $2,400 6.8%
41st – 50th $3,169 $2,976 6.5%
51st – 60th $3,857 $3,634 6.2%
61st – 70th $4,729 $4,447 6.3%
71st – 80th $5,892 $5,578 5.6%
81st – 90th $7,862 $7,493 4.9%
91st – 100th $14,803 $14,354 3.1%

The lowest 10% of households saw household members earning just $706 per month. As we pointed out earlier, the highest earners also skew the statistics, as the top 10% of income earners have pay packets worth nearly double the next highest decile of income earners from the 81st to 90th percentile ($14,803 v $7,862).

How Much Did Our Average Monthly Household Income Grow?

It’s also good to see if there has been positive wage growth in longer time frames to determine if we are headed in the right direction.

Average Monthly Household Income From Work by Type of Dwelling ($)
  2003 2013 2023 CAGR
Average $6,276 $10,469  $13,958 4.1%
1- & 2-Room HDB Flat $1,592 $2,270 $3,897 4.6%
 3-Room HDB Flat $3,581 $5,630 $7,750 3.9%
 4-Room HDB Flat $4,681 $7,974 $11,319 4.5%
5-Room & Executive HDB Flat $7,013 $11,199 $14,665 3.8%
Condominiums and Other Apartments $12,182 $19,340 $22,560 3.1%
Landed Properties $14,712 $23,994 $28,169 3.3%

As expected, all households have benefited from decent income growth in the past 10- and 20-year periods. Those living in 1- & 2-Room HDB Flats have seen an annual household income growth 4.6%. In contrast, those living in landed properties have only seen their average annual income rise 3.3% in the same time frame.

Of course, the highest income earners are already starting from a much higher base, and their nominal income growth far outpaces others in actual dollar terms.

Nevertheless, seeing the lower-income earners outpace the top-income earners in percentage terms is still a step in the right direction.

Read Also: $711 To $2,772 A Month: Here’s How Much You Need To Spend During Retirement In Singapore Today

How Come Our Salaries From Work May Not Match Up?

If we simply look at the headline $13,958 income that the average household in Singapore earns, we may have an unrealistic point of view. For starters, we may be neglecting income that may be earned from owning a business.

As mentioned, we must also be mindful of the number of working persons in our households. A bigger house can accommodate more people. Thus, those living in larger homes may look like we’re better off than the average even when it may not be the case at an individual level. Similarly, if we have only a single income earner in a smaller household, we may actually be better off than the average. Our personal circumstances are also a function of our choices (whether one spouse wants to be a stay-home parent) as well as circumstance.

Another measure that we can compare ourselves to is the median income reported by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Singapore’s median income in 2023 was $5,197.

For many of us, there will typically be two working adults (ourselves and our spouse) in our households. In fact, the average number of working household members in resident employed households in 2020 was 1.93 – which points to a married couple – with just a fraction deciding that one spouse not work. The average household size among resident employed households in 2020 was 3.32 – which can also be read as having about 1 to 2 dependants (either children or elderly parents).

Read Also: Complete Guide To Employer CPF Contributions In Singapore

This article was originally published on 7 October 2020 and updated to reflect the latest information.

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