facts about poverty in Singapore
Many facts about poverty in Singapore are not widely known. Singapore is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but that doesn’t mean it is free from poverty. Media representations of Singapore often show prosperous aspects of the country while neglecting to cover issues of poverty. Singapore also does not have a poverty line, so it is difficult to measure how many households are officially in poverty.

Top 10 facts about poverty in Singapore:

  1. Singapore has one of the largest income gaps in the world. Wealth is disproportionately spread among wealthy foreigners while native Singaporeans live in poverty and often have lower-paying jobs
  2. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of families receiving financial assistance in Singapore jumped 43.45 percent. This is the highest poverty rate ever reported in the country. 
  3. Singapore does not have a national minimum wage. This means that there is no standard for the lowest an employer has to pay an employee, leaving many laborers without enough money to reach an acceptable standard of living. However, Singapore does have laws regulating minimum monthly income for security guards and cleaning employees. 
  4. In 2012, Singapore was the 6th most expensive city to live in. This, coupled with wealth inequalities, lack of minimum wage laws and other factors, contributes to the continuation of the poverty cycle in the city. 
  5. Singapore has progressive taxation, so anyone with an income of less than $20,000 is exempt from taxation. However, the cost of living in Singapore also needs to be considered when looking at this minimum income. 
  6. Poverty in Singapore disproportionately affects the elderly. While Singapore as a whole has increased 43.45 percent in the number of families relying on government assistance between 2012 and 2015, residents over the age of 60 saw a 74.32 percent increase in poverty. 
  7. Another of the facts about poverty in Singapore regarding age is 5 percent of young Singaporeans under 30 are unemployed. Many others cannot find jobs with sufficient wages because of the lack of minimum wage laws in the country.
  8. Many young Singaporeans rely on financial aid from the government. According to the Singapore Ministry of Social and Financial Development, in 2015, 5,644 households with applications younger than 35 years old received short or medium term financial aid.
  9. According to Singaporeans Against Poverty, the price of goods and services in Singapore increased 13.1 percent over the last three years. 
  10. The government, as well as other independent organizations, have plans to implement a variety of policies that will make finding housing, getting an education and paying taxes more bearable for poor Singaporeans.

These are the top 10 facts about poverty in Singapore. Poverty is a prevalent issue in the country and it has many contributing factors that need to be addressed individually. The government of Singapore can do more to reduce income inequality and ensure all Singaporeans are able to afford a proper standard of living.

– Liyanga de Silva

Photo: Flickr