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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?


Singapore is typically seen as a rich country, compared to our regional peers and even against other developed nations globally. The main statistics cited in these comparison studies tend to be GDP per capita – defined as the gross domestic output per person.

In 2019, the Department of Statistics Singapore reported our GDP per capita to be $88,991. This is higher than our regional counterparts, as well as other developed countries globally (but not all).

Country GDP (US$) GDP (S$)
Singapore $65,233 $88,991
Malaysia $11,415 $15,572
Brunei $31,087 $42,409
Australia $54,907 $74,904
Hong Kong $48,756 $66,513
Germany $46,259 $63,107
Monaco $18,5829 $253,508
Liechtenstein $17,3356 $236,493
Luxembourg $11,4705 $156,481
Switzerland $81,994 $111,856
Ireland $78,661 $107,310
Norway $75,420 $102,888

Source: The World Bank

Broadly speaking, this translates into a monthly output of nearly $7,416 per month.

This includes those too old or young to work or those not working, so the actual output per working person may be higher.

However, we cannot expect to earn this amount.

What Is The Average Monthly Household Income In Singapore?

According to the Report on Household Expenditure Survey 2017/18, Singapore’s average monthly household income is $11,777. While this may seem high, we should not get our hopes up or feel down if we aren’t achieving this figure yet.

Read Also: 5 Earning And Spending Trends We Learned About Singapore Households From SingStat’s Household Expenditure Survey 2017/18

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

Average Monthly Household Income by Type of Dwelling ($)
2017/18 Average $11,777
HDB Flats $8,731
   1- & 2-Room $2,521
   3-Room $5,868
   4-Room $8,827
   5-Room & Executive $12,244
Condominiums and Other Apartments $21,830
Landed Properties $28,937

Source: Report on Household Expenditure Survey 2017/18

With more than 80% of people in Singapore living in HDB flats, the household income for HDB flats may be more relevant for many of us. The average HDB household income was $8,731. Naturally, those who live in bigger HDB flats also tend to earn a larger household income.

Apart from income from employment and business, income can also come from other sources, including rental income, investment income, contributions from children, relatives and friends not staying in the same household, annuities and monthly payouts from CPF Retirement Sum Scheme and CPF LIFE and others.

Nevertheless, employment income remained the largest source of income among households, accounting for about 79% of total household income.

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

How Do You Stand Against Other Households In Singapore?

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

Average Monthly Household Income
2017/18 Average $11,777
Quintiles Average Monthly Household Income
1st – 20th $2,235
21st – 40th $5,981
41st – 60th $9,678
61st – 80th $14,407
81st – 100th $26,587

The lowest 20% of households earn a combined amount of only $2,235 per month. When comparing, we typically want to see if we are above or below the middle level – this is the 3rd quintile here, depicting an average household income of $9,678 per month.

The top 20% of households in Singapore pull in $26,587 per month.

Another way to compare our average household income is by the number of people in our households. Logically, the more people in the household, the higher the chance that there will be more working adults or adults with a higher salary to sustain more people.

Average Monthly Household Income
2017/18 $11,777
Household Size Average Monthly Household Income
1 $5,422
2 $8,352
3 $10,755
4 $14,261
5 $17,247
6 or more $21,083

How Much Did Our Average Monthly Household Income Grow?

In the last report done in 2012/13, the average household income was $10,467. This implies an annual income growth of 2.4% over the 5-year period to $11,777 in 2017/18. Households across the board experienced increased household income levels as well.

However, it seems like those living in condominiums and other apartments may have lagged behind in earnings growth in the past five years.

Average Monthly Household Income by Type of Dwelling ($)
2012/13 2017/18 Change (per annum)
Total $10,467 $11,777 2.4%
HDB Flats $7,857 $8,731 2.1%
Condominiums and Other Apartments $20,534 $21,830 1.2%
Landed Properties $26,055 $28,937 2.1%

 

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?

Firstly, if we simply look at the headline figure of $11,777 for household income in Singapore, we may have an unrealistic point of view. The total household income also takes into consideration income from other sources, including from business and investments if you have a side hustle or property and stock investments.

Looking at it purely from an employment income perspective, we can take reference from Singapore’s Key Household Income Trends 2019. The report states that the median household income (from work)  and household income per household member in 2018 was $9,293 and $2,792 respectively.

Roughly speaking, this means employment income made up 78% of median household income in 2018. If we focused on the median household income per household member in 2018, this was $2,792 – which may be a more realistic gauge for individuals in Singapore to compare against.

Another measure that we can compare ourselves to is the median income reported by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Singapore’s median income in 2019 was $4,563 – or roughly $3,331 per month after employer CPF contributions are taken into account. In 2018, this was $4,437 – or roughly $3,239 per month after employer CPF contributions.

Read Also: Complete Guide To Employer CPF Contributions In Singapore

For many of us, there will typically be two working adults (ourselves and our spouse) in our households. In fact, the average household size in 2017/18 is 3.2 – which points to a married couple with one child or elderly parent.

Of course, if there are children or elderly parents in our households, the working income we earn will be divided by more parts – which explains why the work income per household member is lower compared to the median income in Singapore.

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