Friday, February 15, 2008

Income gap widens in Singapore last year

SINGAPORE, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The income gap widened in Singapore last year, as higher-income households continued to experience faster income growth than lower-income ones, according to a report issued by the Singapore government Wednesday.

Singapore's Gini coefficient, a summary measure of income inequality, increased to 0.485 in 2007 from 0.472 in 2006, said the latest report by the Department of Statistics.

However the Singapore government said that its Goods and Services Tax (GST) offset package which was weighted in favor of the lower-income groups helped to overcome that gap.

After adjusting for government benefits and taxes, the Gini coefficient was actually lower at 0.46 in 2007 than the previous year, said the report.

The good news is that the average monthly household income in Singapore rose 9.6 percent to 6,280 Singapore dollars (about 4,423 U.S. dollars) last year, the fastest pace over the last decade.

"The strong household income growth in 2007 may be attributed to strong wage grow on the back of healthy economic growth and a tight labor market," said the report.

The average monthly income among households with at least one employed person grew 9.1 percent to 6,830 Singapore dollars (about4,810 dollars).

After adjusting for inflation, Singaporean households enjoyed a real income growth of 6.9 percent last year.

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