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Singapore more expensive than Central London

Blowin’ In The Wind

Posted: 03 Dec 2010 12:16 AM PST

 Singapore is more expensive than Central London, according to ECA International’s cost of living survey. The current median income in Singapore for fully employed residents (not foreigners), however, is almost half that of London last year.

AsiaOne reported, referring to the Singapore Ministry of Manpower’s labour force survey:

The median monthly income from (sic) residents who are fully employed climbed remarkably fast by 4.2 per cent in the past year to S$2,710, much higher than the 0.5 per cent increase in 2009.

That’s just more than half the median income in London last year.

Britain’s Office for National Statistics says:

Median full-time weekly earnings in London were ÂŁ627, significantly higher than in other regions, where they ranged from ÂŁ436 in the North East to ÂŁ514 in the South East.

The monthly median income in London then, at ÂŁ627 a week, works out to ÂŁ2,508 (more than S$5,100).

That’s the figure for last year. I could not find the figures for this year on the Office for National Statistics website.

See the ECA International press release: Singapore climbs to eighth most expensive Asian city. More expensive than Singapore are Tokyo, Nagoya,Yokohama, Kobe, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The survey shows the cost of living for expats is just 2 per cent higher in Hong Kong than in Singapore.

Singapore is the 42nd most expensive city in the world, according to the survey, more expensive than Central London (50th) and Brussels (46th), but still cheaper than New York (39th) and Manhattan (28th). Yes, they are counted separately. Check out the press release. The world’s second most expensive city, after Tokyo, is Luanda.

The survey covers the cost of:

Food: Groceries; dairy produce; meat and fish; fresh fruit and vegetables
Basic: Drink and tobacco; miscellaneous goods; services
General: Clothing; electrical goods; motoring; meals out.

But it does not cover the cost of accommodation, utilities (electricity, gas, water costs), car purchase and school fees because these are usually paid for separately in expatriate packages.

The Singapore median income for fully employed residents (S$2,710) is a little less than the median household income in Hong Kong last year.

A Hong Kong government report says:

Based on the results of the General Household Survey, the median monthly domestic household income for Q4 2009 was $17,500.

That’s HK$17,500 (more than S$2,900).

The Hong Kong report gives a breakdown of the monthly household income. Here it is:

Monthly household income % of total domestic households
Under HK$4,000 8
HK$4,000-HK$5,999 6
HK$6,000-HK$7,999 6.9
HK$8,000-HK$9,999 7.1
HK$10,000-HK$14,999 14.4
HK$15,000-HK$19,999 12.2
HKS$20,000-HK$24,999 10.5
HK$25,000-HK29,999 6.8
HK$30,000-HK$34,999 6.2
HK$35,000-HK$39,999 4.2
HK$40,000-HK$44,999 3.4
HK$45,000-HK$49,999 2.4
HK$50,000-HK$59,999 3.7
HK$60,000-HK$79,999 3.7
HK$80,000-HK$99,999 1.8
HK$100,000 and over 2.8


So 2.8 per cent of the households in Hong Kong have a monthly income of HK$100,000 or more while 8 per cent have less than HK$4,000.

I couldn’t find anything so simple for Singapore.

Here is “the average monthly household income from work among employed households by decile”, from the poorest 10 per cent to the richest 10 per cent. That’s not quite the same as showing which income group makes up what percentage of the population like Hong Kong does. The figures here are taken from Key Household Trends 2009 issued by the Singapore Department of Statistics in August this year.

1st to 10th decile S$1,303
11th to 20th decile S$2,459
21st to 30th decile S$3,472
31st to 40th decile S$4,424
41st to 50th decile S$5,354
51st to 60th decile S$6,599
61st to 70th decile S$7,969
71st to 80th decile S$9,559
81st to 90th decile S$12,290
91st to 100th decile S$22,062
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One Response to “Singapore more expensive than Central London”

  1. sal says:

    Must our pay be the same as those guys working in London? If Londoners have a min wage to survive their daily life comfortably, why can’t Spore have the same min wage to survive here.

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