Income: What a world of difference without CPF contributions?

~by: Leong Sze Hian~

I refer to the article “S’pore households' median monthly income

rises” (Channel NewsAsia, Feb 14). It states that “The Department of Statistics (DOS) said in its latest report, 'Key Household Characteristics and Household Income Trends, 2011', released on Tuesday that the increase was the sharpest for the lower-income group”.

According to the Department of Singapore Statistics' Report, 'Largest Increase in Household Income Per Household Member among Lower income Households' states:

"Among resident employed households, median monthly household income per household member rose from $1,850 in 2010 to $1,990 in 2011, an increase of 7.9 per cent in nominal terms, or 2.7 per cent in real terms. The first decile saw the highest percentage growth in average monthly household income per member of 11 per cent and 5.8 per cent in nominal and real terms respectively”

“Cumulatively between 2001 and 2011, the median monthly household income from work per household member of resident employed households rose by 20 per cent in real terms, with most of the gains coming from 2006 to 2011. On a total household income basis, the median monthly household income from work rose by 22 per cent in real terms between 2001 and 2011”

This refers to income including the employers’ CPF contributions.

Lowest income had highest increase?

For the data excluding the employers’ CPF contributions, I estimate the increase in real terms for the decade to be about 9% in real terms or about 0.9% per annum, for the 1st to 10th decile, whose per household member income increased from $289 to $393, from 2001 to 2011.

For the excluding CPF data, the median monthly household income from work or HDB 1 & 2-room flats is estimated to have increased in real terms by – 7% or about – 0.7% per annum, from $1,125 to $1,351, from 2001 to 2011.

For 3-room flats, the estimated increase was 11% pr 1.1% per annum.

So many low-income households?

For the excluding CPF contributions data, there were 3.4% (about 39,100 households) of resident households with monthly household income from work of below $1,000.

7.5% (about 86,250 households) had income between $1,000 – 1,999.

Bottom 10% negative increase?

For the excluding CPF contributions data, I estimate the real increase in the average monthly household income from work, for the 1st to 10th deciles, to be about – 6% or – 0.6% per annum for the last decade, from $1,209 to $1,460, from 2001 to 2011.

For the 11th – 20th decile, the figures are 12% or 1.1% per annum, from $2,040 to $2,834.


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