# The average Singaporean household income: Where do you stand?

PHOTO: The New Paper file

We wrote about what is a good pay in Singapore , where a typical Singaporean worker’s average monthly salary stands at \$5,877 (including employer CPF).

While it is good to know where you stand when it comes to your individual salary, a better number to look at will be your household income.

The median monthly household income measures the combined incomes of all the people living under the same roof.

It includes every form of income such as salaries, employer’s CPF wage contributions, and investment returns.

## TL;DR: The median Singaporean household income is \$7,744

• Household income is the sum of the gross income of all the members of a household.
• For households with at least one working person, the median household income for Singaporeans is \$7,744
• The median household income from work per household member is at \$2,463.
• The median household income was \$5,600 in 2010, which indicates a 1.9 per cent increment after adjusting for inflation.
• 13.3 per cent of Singapore’s household is without monthly income from work. These are households with no working person.

We usually use the median for better representation, since average income is often skewed by top earners.

## Where do you stand alongside the rest of the Singaporeans?

### The household income of an average Singaporean: Where do you stand?

The median household income is \$7,744 as of 2020.

It increased from \$5,600 in 2010, which means a 1.9 per cent p.a. increase after adjusting for inflation.

This means that if you add up the monthly income of all income earners in your household and it exceeds \$7,744, you are better off than 50 per cent of the households out there.

The average monthly household income is \$10,608 (average = total sum divided by total number of households).

There are 13.1 per cent of households with no employed persons, which increased from 10.5 per cent in 2010.

ALSO READ: Singapore census: Household incomes higher, but does more money mean more problems?

### Distribution of Singaporeans in terms of monthly household income

Monthly Household Income from Work Resident Households (per cent) Percentage Difference
2010 2020
Below \$1,000 3.5 per cent 2.0 per cent -1.5 per cent
\$1,000 to \$2,999 15.2 per cent 10.2 per cent -5.0 per cent
\$3,000 to \$4,999 16.2 per cent 10.6 per cent -5.6 per cent
\$5,000 to \$6,999 14.1 per cent 10.4 per cent -3.7 per cent
\$7,000 to \$8,999 10.8 per cent 9.4 per cent -1.4 per cent
\$9,000 to \$10,999 8.0 per cent 8.4 per cent +0.4 per cent
\$11,000 to \$12,999 5.6 per cent 6.8 per cent +0.8 per cent
\$13,000 to \$14,999 3.9 per cent 5.6 per cent +1.7 per cent
\$15,000 to \$17,499 3.5 per cent 5.6 per cent +2.1 per cent
\$17,500 to \$19,999 2.2 per cent 4.0 per cent +1.8 per cent
\$20,000 and above 6.6 per cent 13.9 per cent +7.3 per cent

Monthly household income generally increased since 2010, with a drop in the proportion of resident households earning less than \$6,999, and an increase in the proportion of households earning \$7,000 and above.

The proportion of resident households that are earning at least \$9,000 has increased significantly from 29.7 per cent in 2010 to 44.2 per cent in 2020 .

The biggest change is witnessed for the group earning \$20,000 and above, with numbers more than doubled from 6.6 per cent to 13.9 per cent.

### Median household monthly income per person

It could be inaccurate if we were to look at median household monthly income alone since there are different number of members in a household.

As such, another method is to look at the median household income per person.

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Household monthly income per person is calculated by taking the total gross household monthly income divided by the total number of family members living under one roof.

The median household income per household member was found to have increased from \$1,638 in 2010 to \$2,463 in 2020.

This refers to a growth of 2.8 per cent p.a. after adjusting for inflation.

Hence, if your household income per member in the household is above \$2,463, you are better off than 50 per cent of the households in Singapore.

On the other hand, the average median household income per person stands at \$3,488.

## What does it mean for you?

” It is what you do with your income that matters.”

Falling below the median for household income does not necessarily mean that you are poor.

In fact, we know of more Singaporeans who are poor despite earning a higher income.

This is because, with an increased salary, people often start spending more due to lifestyle inflation.

It is, therefore, more important to take a look at your savings rate instead.

Ideally, as our income increases, your savings rate should increase as well.

We should ultimately aim to have an increase in expenses lesser than the increase in income.

## What can you do about it?

If you fall below the median household income, here are some ways to not let it get in your way:

• Getting proper insurance coverage so that your financial safety net will be there to safeguard your own savings.
• Household income includes every form of income, including investment gains. One can look to increase his household income through investments.
• Simple things such as getting the best savings account for that extra interest rates can help you in the long run.
• Married couples can look to come out with a possible budgeting formula to help them save better for their household. Here’s one of the methods we wrote about which can help a couple save an extra \$120,000!
• Another life hack for Singaporeans would be to make use of free course credits to upgrade yourself in terms of knowledge and skills, which could accelerate your earning power.
• Set your own personal finance goals and know what you’re working towards and what you’re working hard for.