Singapore household net wealth

The average Singapore household has a net worth of well over 800,000 Singapore dollars but less than 900,000 Singapore dollars (about $636,000).

Laugh if the amount seems absurdly low, for even people living in public housing drive Mercedes-Benzes in Singapore.

But it is based on the the latest data from the Singapore Department of Statistics.

Singapore has 4,987,600 people living in 1,093,100 households, it says.

And they are growing richer as a group, says the government department. It reports in Household Sector Balance Sheet 2008:

"Singapore household net wealth grew marginally by 0.3 percent from 952 billion Singapore dollars in 2007 to 954 billion Singapore dollars in 2008 compared to a double-digit growth of 22 percent in 2007." 

The report gives only the total amount: 954 billion Singapore dollars.

The average, of course, would be that divided by the total number of households.

One expects a statistical study to give the average as well as the median figure.

But Household Sector Balance Sheet 2008 gives only the total amount.

Who knows why?

It's certainly good publicity for Singapore. For it shows how well-off Singaporeans are as a group, with total assets well over three-and-a-half times the gross domestic product (257.4 billion Singapore dollars) last year. For the first time, Singapore's net wealth ratio is higher than America's, says the report.

But it hides the disparities that exist in Singapore, which were revealed by the department's own report in January this year. As I mentioned in a previous post:

Singapore had the highest concentration of millionaires last year, with 8.5 percent of the country’s households owning more than $1 million, according to the Boston Consulting Group. (Switzerland was second, with 6.6 percent.)

But 61 percent of the employed households earned less than the average household income of 7,090 Singapore dollars a month, according to the Key Household Income Trends 2008 report published by the statistics department in January this year.

The median income — or the income of half the households — was considerably less: 4,950 Singapore dollars for resident households (Singaporeans and permanent residents) and 5,480 Singapore dollars for employed households.