Category Archives: Inequalities Singapore


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to encourage sustained economic growth by achieving higher levels of productivity and through technological innovation. Promoting policies that encourage entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.


To Create the World We Want where no one is left behind, we need to ensure that overseas aid reaches the poorest people and the poorest countries. We need to ensure that governments adopt policies that promote equal opportunities for all.


According to former GIC Chief Economist, Yeoh Lam Keong, 110,000 to 140,000 households in Singapore are unable to meet basic needs, where60% of these households have at least an individual earning an income. This highlights certain structural issues at play, which cannot merely be resolved through the hard work of an individual.

On a macro level, there is a need to re-examine the role of the government and individual responsibility and adjust wages so that everyone can earn an income that meets their living needs. On a micro level, addressing mindsets and judgements surrounding people living in poverty is crucial to tackling poverty and building an inclusive society. No one chooses to live in poverty.

Read more: The Four Myths of Inequality in Singapore
Read more: Why Low-Income Parents May Make ‘Poor Choices’


  • 1 in 10 Singaporeans are unable to meet basic needs in the form of food, clothing, shelter and other essential expenditures.14
  • Singapore is ranked the 3rd richest country in the world, with a GDP (PPP) per capita of nearly US$56,700.15
  • Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Singapore as the most expensive city to live for three years in a row16
  • The top 10% wage earning households earn approximately 25 times more than the bottom 10%17
  • The top 20% of earners saw their real wages rise by 27% between 1998 and 201018
  • The bottom 20% of earners saw their real wages fall by 8% over the same period19