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Key Findings of Household Expenditure Survey 2002/03



The Singapore Department of Statistics (DOS) conducts the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) once in every five years.
The latest HES was carried out from October 2002 to September 2003 and the survey results are now released for general information.
Scope and Coverage
The HES collects data on the consumption expenditure of resident households, primarily to update the weighting pattern and the basket of goods and services for the compilation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Besides expenditure data, the HES also collects data on income and socio-economic characteristics of household members, as well as ownership of consumer durables, and financial investments.
The collection of expenditure data in HES 2002/03 was spread out over a period of twelve months to take into account seasonal variations in consumer spending. The sample of households selected was divided into 26 groups with each group recording their expenditure for a period of two weeks.
Key Findings of the HES 2002/03
Profile of Households
The HES 2002/03 covered about 6,700 private households comprising some 24,100 persons. These were households with at least one household member who was a Singapore citizen or permanent resident. Institutions and non-resident households were excluded as their expenditure patterns differed greatly from the average resident households.
Between 1998 and 2003, the average household size fell from 3.8 persons to 3.6 persons (Table A in Annex). The decline was attributed mainly to the rising proportion of one-person households (from 7.2 per cent in 1998 to 10 per cent in 2003), as well as smaller household size for all household types.
Compared with 1998, households were living in better housing in 2003 (Table B in Annex). Some 60 per cent of them were staying in HDB 4-room and larger flats in 2003, up from the 52 per cent five years ago. The proportion of households living in private houses and flats also increased from 9.4 per cent in 1998 to about 12 per cent in 2003.
Reflecting slower economic growth during 1998 ¨C 2003 and the ageing population, the percentage share of households with no working persons increased from 4.5 per cent in 1998 to 7.4 per cent in 2003. Correspondingly, those with two or more working persons declined from 59 per cent to 54 per cent during the same period.
Monthly Household Expenditure and Income
In the HES, expenditure data referred to consumption expenditure incurred by households. Non-consumption expenditure such as loan re-payment, purchase of house and payment of income tax were excluded.
Household income, as defined in the HES, included regular income from work or business, as well as income received from rental, investment and other sources such as pensions, bursary, cash contributions received from relatives etc.
One-off payments or irregular receipts such as the Economic Restructuring Shares (ERS) from the government, proceeds from sale of properties, CPF lumpsum withdrawals and insurance claims, were not included.
Between 1998 and 2003, the average monthly household expenditure grew by 0.9 per cent per annum, from $3,090 to $3,240 (Table 1). Household income rose faster at 1.1 per cent per annum, from $4,610 to $4,870. During the same five-year period, the growth in CPI was lower, at 0.4% p.a. This showed that average real income had risen over the period.
Household Expenditure By Type of Goods and Services
In 2003, the top three household expenditure groups were housing, transport & communication and food. They jointly accounted for nearly two-thirds of the total household expenditure. (Table C in Annex).
Compared with 1998, household spending on housing was higher in 2003 due to increased expenditure on accommodation and utilities.
The higher expenditure on accommodation was the result of the general shift among households towards larger flat types which commanded higher annual assessed values while that on utilities was the result of the upward revision in tariffs and higher consumption.
Higher school enrolment and increased school/tuition fees for local educational institutions and overseas universities contributed to the higher spending on education & stationery.
Health care expenditure rose mainly due to higher spending on hospitalisation, specialised medical treatment and proprietary medicines e.g. vitamins and health supplements, Chinese herbs and medicine.
Expenditure on ¡°recreation & others¡± such as overseas travel, domestic services and cigarettes also increased.
In contrast, spending on transport fell due to declining car prices and lower expenditure on repairs and servicing of cars and road tax (due to a reduction in its rate in 2002). These declines more than offset the slightly higher expenditure on public road transport during the same period.
Spending on info-communication services like mobile phone subscriptions & call charges and Internet subscriptions were also higher. Households spent less on food and clothing & footwear during 1998 ¨C 2003.
Overall Households¡¯ Living Standards
All households, including those in the lower income groups, have achieved a higher standard of living during 1993 ¨C 2003. The growth in monthly household income was 1.1% p.a. during 1998 ¨C 2003, higher than the 0.9% p.a. registered for household expenditure.
More..... (Annex)

Source: Singapore Department of Statistics Press Statement 17 Jun 2005




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18 June 2005