When thinking about poverty, Singapore is usually not the first country that comes to mind. However, the country faces many issues that continue to make poverty an increasing problem in the country.
10 Facts About Poverty in Singapore
- Poverty in Singapore suffers from a lack of visibility
Singapore is one of the wealthiest and most well-developed countries in the world, and this is often the side that is seen and thought of. This makes Singapore’s poverty difficult to see for anyone not living in the country.
- Singapore has a large inequality gap
Singapore has the most millionaires in the world, but also has one of the largest inequality gaps in advanced Asian countries, placing second on the list.
- 10 to 14 percent of Singaporeans face severe poverty
Ten to 14 percent of Singaporeans struggle with severe financial issues. These Singaporeans have difficulty affording their basic needs, with hunger being one of the largest factors.
- Poverty is an increasing problem in Singapore
Poverty in Singapore is growing worse with each year. From 2012 to 2015, impoverished families relying on government assistance increased by approximately 43 percent.
- Poverty is an issue for the elderly
Elderly Singaporeans are the group most affected by poverty. In the same timeframe of 2012 to 2015, the number of impoverished people over 60 years of age relying on government assistance increased by approximately 74 percent. This is mainly attributed to government restrictions on withdrawing retirement funds.
- Poverty is also an issue for the young
Singaporeans between the ages of 15 and 34 years of age are the second most affected group. This is mainly caused by low-paying entry-level jobs and a lack of minimum wage laws. In addition, many young Singaporeans struggle to find a job at all, with approximately 5 percent being unemployed.
- Many people are trapped in poverty
Singaporeans born into poverty, especially those from more recent generations, are more likely to stay in poverty even as adults. Those born into more financially well-off families tend to have more success.
- Government assistance is not enough
The government provides financial aid to any family making less than $1,900 a month. The government also provides aid in other forms such as making education more affordable, tax exemptions for impoverished families and more affordable housing. Yet, impoverished families continue to struggle, and assistance does not seem to be alleviating the growing issue of poverty in the country.
- As poverty grows, so does the popularity of the ruling party
Although the issue of poverty in Singapore is worsening at a steady rate, the ruling party in the country is growing in popularity and continuing to win general elections. Many believe that the current party is not doing enough to address the issue.
- Singapore receives little foreign aid
Foreign aid for Singapore has dropped significantly since the mid-1990s, and it receives only miniscule amounts from countries like the U.S. compared to what others are receiving. Even then, the majority of foreign aid that goes to Singapore does not focus directly on poverty issues, and instead on the country’s trade and economy. This lack of aid may be partially due to how hidden much of the poverty in Singapore seems to be.
Although a growing problem, poverty in Singapore remains in the background of the country’s financial successes and development. Because the issue often goes unnoticed by other countries, little aid is being provided, allowing poverty to grow and spread, affecting a variety of Singaporeans in many ways.
– Keegan Struble