As part of MOF's ongoing efforts to create a better Singapore through Finance, MOF engages industry experts and stakeholders to report on trends and outcomes, based on data-driven insights. We hope the following featured reports are useful.
2019 - Key Socio-Economic Outcomes Across Cohorts
Latest Data Shows Progress Made By Each Generation of Singaporeans: Improvements in Education, Employment, Wages, Residential Property Ownership
Compared to older age groups, Singaporeans in their 40s today are more educated, better able to find jobs, earn more, save more, and live longer and healthier years.
These are some of the key findings in a new MOF report (747 KB) on socio-economic outcomes of Singaporeans born in 1940 – 1979.
Educational attainment levels have improved across the cohorts of Singaporeans studied in the report, in line with enhanced access and improvements in the quality of the education system. Only 22% of Singaporeans born in 1940 – 1949 went beyond secondary school, compared to 79% of those born in 1970 – 1979.
Younger Singaporeans who are not included in the current study are expected to attain even higher educational qualifications. Today, students benefit from well-resourced schools and a large degree of flexibility in the education system, where they can choose from multiple pathways based on their strengths and talents.
Higher Employment Rates, Wages and Savings
With higher qualifications, younger Singaporeans are better able to find jobs, earn higher wages, and save more for retirement. Comparing each cohort when they were in their 40s, the Labour Force Participation Rate for those born in 1970 – 1979 is 89%, compared to 79% for those born in 1950 – 1959. The median real gross monthly income from work (including employer CPF contributions) for those in their 40s is $5,900 for the younger group, more than double that of the $2,800 earned by the older group. Looking at CPF balances in the Ordinary Accounts and Special Accounts of Singaporeans in their 40s, the median for the younger group is three times that of the older group, after adjusting for inflation.For balances at the 20th percentile, the younger group has more than seven times the balances of the older group, again after adjusting for inflation.
Today, the Government intervenes actively to support Singaporeans who want to work, such as by supporting skills development and employment facilitation. For example, the Adapt and Grow initiative helps jobseekers affected by economic slowdowns to get back into employment as soon as possible. Employers also benefit from various grants and programmes to upskill their workers.
Higher Residential Property Ownership Rates
Higher wages and savings have contributed to high residential property ownership rates for Singaporeans. Residential property ownership rates have improved from 76% for those born in 1940 - 1949 to around 85% for the younger cohorts. Most HDB dwellers have leases that are long enough to cover them until at least age 95. This also means that they have an asset that can be monetised if necessary, to supplement their retirement needs (for example, by right-sizing or through the Lease Buyback Scheme).
Longer Life Expectancies
Singaporeans are living longer, healthier years. The life expectancy at age 45 has risen from 35 years in 1999 to 41 years in 2017, accompanied by a similar rise in Health Adjusted Life Expectancy at age 45 from 29 years in 1999 to 33 years in 2017.
With enhanced healthcare schemes like MediShield Life, CareShield Life, Community Health Assistance Scheme, Screen For Life, younger Singaporeans will be better prepared for their healthcare needs, including the early detection and management of conditions.
Decrease in Family Support
Although subsequent generations of Singaporeans have a better quality of life and more personal resources for retirement, lower marriage rates and smaller family sizes may mean less available support from the immediate family. The Government will continue to work closely with community partners to support those who may need additional assistance, even as we encourage the strengthening of inter-generational family bonds. The Government will also do more to help Singaporeans to upskill, earn and save more.
The report is prepared by the Ministry of Finance, with inputs from various ministries. These indicators reflect how socio-economic outcomes have changed across generations, as Singapore progressed from Third World to First. For comparability, they are grouped into four 10-year age bands to show the improvements in Singaporeans’ quality of life over time – Singaporeans born in the 1940s (1940 – 1949); Singaporeans born in the 1950s (1950 – 1959); Singaporeans born in the 1960s (1960 – 1969); and Singaporeans born in the 1970s (1970 – 1979). The report is available at https://www.mof.gov.sg (747 KB).
 Real incomes in 2018 dollars.
2019 - Intergenerational Income Mobility in Singapore
The measurement of intergenerational income mobility, or the degree to which income status persists across generations within a family, has been a subject of great interest among social scientists and policymakers. High intergenerational mobility is desirable from the social perspective as it suggests that there is greater equality of opportunity – society offers similar chances of achieving economic success regardless of one's background. Conversely, low mobility implies that children from low income families are more likely to remain poor, and thus presents a case for more active government intervention to "level the playing field".
In this paper, we present measures of intergenerational income mobility in Singapore, derived using a simple methodology originating from Solon (1992). Specifically, we estimate the correlation between measures of fathers' incomes and that of their sons' incomes.
Read more about the intergenerational income mobility study:
2019 - Singapore Government Borrowings
Understanding Singapore Government's Borrowing and its Purposes
Singapore Government's borrowing is fiscally sustainable. This can be partly attributed to the following features:
Borrowings* are not for spending. Securities are issued for reasons unrelated to the Government’s fiscal needs. Singapore Government Securities (SGS) are issued to develop the domestic debt market, Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) are issued specifically to meet the investment needs of the Central Provident Fund Board and Singapore Saving Bonds (SSB) are issued to provide individual investors with a long term saving option.
Borrowing* proceeds are invested and the investment returns are more than sufficient to cover the debt serving costs.
The Singapore Government has a strong balance sheet that has assets well in excess of its liabilities. Singapore has consistently achieved the top credit ratings of AAA from the 3 main credit rating agencies. Additionally in the Q12016 BlackRock Sovereign Risk Index report, Singapore ranked 2nd in terms of credit worthiness as they recognize our net asset position, rather than gross debt levels.
In Budget 2019, the Government announced that it will study the option of using government debt as part of the financing mix for long-term infrastructure projects that the Government will be taking on directly.
Read about the unique nature of the borrowing of the Singapore Government here (702 KB).
*Refers to borrowings through the Government Securities Act.
2016 - AML/CFT
Singapore's AML/CFT Policy Statement
Singapore adopts a whole-of-government approach to combating money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF). This is led by the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Steering Committee (“AML/CFT Committee”), comprising the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Singapore’s AML/CFT policy objectives are to: i) detect, deter and prevent money laundering, associated predicate offences and terrorism financing; and ii) protect the integrity of its financial system from illegal activities and illicit fund flows. The AML/CFT efforts are centred on having a sound and comprehensive legal, institutional, policy and supervisory framework; low crime rate; intolerance for corruption; an efficient judiciary; close international cooperation with other jurisdictions; an established culture of compliance; effective monitoring of the measures implemented; and decisive law enforcement actions against ML/TF threats.
To achieve the policy objectives, Singapore follows these principles:
Allocate law enforcement, financial intelligence and supervisory resources on a risk-sensitive basis
Maintain close policy and operational coordination and cooperation across the Government
Take a preventive approach that combines tough licencing and comprehensive reporting requirements, strict AML/CFT regulations, and risk-based supervision of the relevant financial and non-financial sectors
Enhance private sector stakeholders’ understanding of ML/TF risks and promote a culture of compliance
Take decisive and deterrent law enforcement action against ML/TF activity, including that relating to foreign crimes
Disrupt drug dealing and other serious offences early to prevent proceeds from being laundered
Provide assistance to other jurisdictions through formal and informal channels spontaneously and on request
Rigorously implement and contribute to the development of international standards, including the international standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation set by the Financial Action Task Force and United Nations Security Council Resolutions (particularly for targeted financial sanctions related to terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction)
AML/CFT Steering Committee
Singapore's National Risk Assessment (NIRA) Report
Click here for the press release dated 14 Jan 2016.
2015 - Income Growth, Distribution and Mobility Trends in Singapore
Income growth, inequality and mobility are key issues of concern for many countries across the world.
Real income growth provides an indication of how consumption and standards of living are improving;
Income inequality examines the spread of incomes across a society;
Intergenerational income mobility measures the extent to which individuals' incomes and their standing in the income ladder differs from their parents'.
This paper reviews trends in income growth, inequality and mobility in Singapore using data from the Department Statistics (DOS), and puts them in international perspective.
Read our key findings here (1,149 KB).
Read the Economic Society of Singapore SG50 Distinguished Lecture by DPM Tharman on Singapore's social policies here.