Parliamentary Replies

Gini coefficient of Singapore

Parliamentary Question by Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang:

To ask the Minister for Finance (a) what is the Gini coefficient of Singapore for each year in the past 10 years when capital income is taken into account; (b) if such data is not available, whether inclusion of capital income is likely to increase or decrease Singapore's Gini coefficient; and (c) whether the Ministry will take into account capital income when reporting Singapore's Gini coefficient.

Parliamentary Reply by Second Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong:

Singapore computes the Gini coefficient based on household income from work.  This data is available annually, and enables the timely tracking of income inequality.  

Collecting income data from sources other than work is more challenging. Such data are typically collected based on self-reporting by respondents and are more susceptible to measurement errors.  This is why the Department of Statistics has thus far not included such data in its computation of the Gini coefficient.  

Nevertheless, the Government will continue to explore ways to better measure and monitor income inequality.  Regardless of the measurement issues, our approach remains to keep our social support measures progressive and targeted at the lower and middle-income households.