Lower-income: How many – poverty line?

Source from 亚行Source from 亚行

“Let lower-income families keep their agency and dignity: Masagos” (ST, May 23)

“Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, made this point at an SG Cares Community Network session held at Civil Service Club @ Tessensohn on Monday.

The session was held as part of MSF’s Forward SG engagements with Singaporeans.”


Have you ever wondered how many lower-income are there in S’pore?

Practically every week – there are media reports about helping the “lower-income” – but, rarely do we ever get, if ever – how many are there and what is the poverty line, which we do not have, unlike most countries

Perhaps, some MPs should ask in Parliament?

So, let’s try to figure this out, as best we can:

Under ComCare – the criteria is $650 household per capita incomehttps://www.msf.gov.sg/docs/default-source/mediaroom-document/infographic_5_things_about_comcare.pdf

Under the Public Transport Voucher scheme – its $1,600 per capitahttps://www.mot.gov.sg/what-we-do/public-transport/public-transport-vouchers

Under Workfare – its $2,500 for a worker at least 30 years old


In 2022 – 9.3% (130,163 households (9.3% x 1,399,600 total resident households)) of households had per capita income below $1,000

12.5% (174,950 households) had no employed person, of which 7.6% (106,370) were Solely Non-Employed Persons Aged 65 Years & Over

As the average household size was 3.09 – does it mean that the number of people in the below $1,000 lower-income households, may be about 402,204 (130,163 x 3.09)?

I have not included the “no income households” because we don’t know how many of these, were unemployed or retired, and were financially stressed



So, why don’t we establish & acknowledge a poverty line, like most countries?




About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.