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HDB Sample Household Survey 2003


Sample Household Survey 2003

The HDB Sample Household Survey 2003 showed that the standard of living of residents in HDB flats had generally improved. This was reflected in their higher average monthly household income, higher ownership of consumer goods and the increased number embracing an e-lifestyle.
Other key findings from the Survey were:
 (a) An increasing proportion of residents was prepared to live on higher storeys.
 (b) An overwhelming 95.6% of the households interviewed preferred to own rather than rent a flat.
 (c) Kinship and community ties in HDB estates remained strong.
 (d) More residents had a sense of belonging to the towns they lived in, and had participated in community activities.
 (e) There were also more residents satisfied with their present lives.
Sample Household Survey 2003
HDB conducts the Sample Household Survey (SHS) once every five years on residents living in HDB flats.
The objectives are to gather demographic information, identify trends and monitor satisfaction levels on various aspects of public housing.
The feedback obtained on the social and physical aspects of the high-rise, high-density living environment will be used to facilitate the planning of HDB towns, design of flats and management of estates.
A total of eight such surveys have been completed since 1968. This latest survey conducted in 2003 covered a total of 7,300 households in all the HDB towns and estates. The analysis on the data has been completed and the salient findings are as follows.
Profile of HDB Resident Population & Households
The population living in HDB estates had increased by 5.2% over the last five years to 2.84 million in 2003, and comprised about 84% of the population in Singapore.
However, the average household size had declined over the years, from 6.2 persons in 1968 to 3.7 persons in 1998 and 3.5 persons in 2003.
Household sizes tended to be smaller in new towns (e.g. Punggol) as well as mature towns (eg Queenstown), compared with towns of intermediate age (e.g. Choa Chu Kang).
The population in HDB estates was also ageing. The proportion of elderly residents aged 65 years and above had increased from 7.2% in 1998 to 7.6% in 2003.
Despite wage restraint and unemployment during the recent economic downturn, the average monthly household income increased from $3,719 in 1998 to $4,238 in 2003. The increase was higher for households living in bigger flat types, with households living in 1- and 2-room flats experiencing a slight dip in income.
The rising standard of living among HDB residents was also reflected in high ownership of consumer goods. In particular, ownership of DVD/VCD/VCR players had increased from 74.0% to 81.4%, air-conditioners from 57.6% to 70.0% and personal computers from 49.3% to 68.6%. More than half of HDB households had internet access. About 30% had used e-services, reflecting a move towards e-lifestyle.
Satisfaction with Physical Aspects of Living Environment
Both surveys in 1998 and 2003 showed that what residents liked most about living in HDB estates were the low housing cost and the comprehensive estate facilities.
In particular, more than half of the households interviewed said they would frequent the commercial facilities, such as the markets/ supermarkets, shops, hawker centres and eating establishments, at least once a week. Satisfaction levels with estate facilities were also very high (93.4%). This reflected the success of HDB¡¯s efforts in planning self-sufficient neighbourhoods and towns.
The residents interviewed also gave high ratings on reliability of lifts (85.6%), tolerable or minimal noise level (86.3%) and sufficient privacy from neighbours and passers-by (87.8%) - factors considered important for high-rise, high-density living. Not surprisingly, an increasing proportion of residents was prepared to live in higher storeys. About a third were prepared to live in 40-storey or taller blocks.
Residential Mobility & Housing Aspirations
In 2003, only 18.6% of the households were inclined to move in the next five years. This was much lower than the 35.7% when the survey was last conducted in 1998. A higher proportion of households was contented with their present housing units, at 55.0% compared with 42.8% previously.
An overwhelming 95.6% of the households still preferred to own rather than rent a flat. Among households who had moved to another HDB flat since their marriage, only 14.5% had downgraded.
Among those who have moved since their marriage, some 55.6% moved within the same town or to neighbouring towns within 5 km.
Kinship Ties
The survey also showed that kinship ties among households in HDB estates remained strong. Some 90% of the older residents received visits at least once a month from their married children, while 22% received daily visits. The nearer the children lived, the higher the frequency of visits.
The main purposes of the visits were to have meals together (31.5%) and for childcare support (41.1%). Besides mothers, grandparents were important childcare providers.
Community Bonding
In 2003, a resident knew an average of 10 neighbours, unchanged from the findings in 1998. While neighbourly interactions were mainly in the form of exchange of greetings and casual conversation, about half of the residents stated that they helped watch over their neighbours¡¯ flats when necessary. This is a significant increase of 11 percentage points over the 40.9% in 1998.
Some 90% of the residents indicated a sense of belonging to the towns they live in, higher than the 82.3% in 1998. The sense of belonging increased with the age of the resident and length of residence.
The proportion of residents who participated in community activities within the past 12 months increased from 13.2% in 1998 to 38% in 2003.
The most popular types of activities were religious and festivals/ holiday events, such as National Day, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali. These activities provided opportunities for residents to appreciate the diverse cultures and build up a sense of mutual respect.
Quality of Life
More residents were satisfied with their lives, 93.4% in 2003 compared to 89.1% in 1998. Residents were more satisfied with their family life, personal health, and public security, which they also ranked as most important. Working life/career, current household income and cost of living were areas they were least satisfied with.
About 91% perceived themselves as middle class and above. Some 80.6% expected their lives to improve or stay the same in 5 years¡¯ time due to personal or family-related reasons such as improved living standards, good family life and being free from health problems. The remaining 19.4% who expected their lives to be worse in 5 years¡¯ time were concerned largely with insufficient income and financial instability.
Elderly in HDB Estates
The proportion of elderly households in HDB estates increased from 9.2% in 1998 to 10.7% in 2003. More elderly were living in older towns/estates like Bukit Merah, Queenstown and Bedok.
About 73% of the elderly households lived in 3- or 4-room flats. Their household size was smaller, with about 2.5 persons per household compared to 3.5 persons for all households. In 2003, some 16.3% were one-person households, up from 13.7% in 1998. The elderly were generally satisfied with their life. The majority of them found contentment in their families, neighbours and the living environment.
Monographs and CD-ROM
The details of the findings of SHS 2003 are published in the two monographs entitled:
¡¤ Public Housing in Singapore: Residents¡¯ Profile & Physical Aspects
¡¤ Public Housing in Singapore: Social Aspects & The Elderly
Each of these monographs is available at $15 a copy. A CD-ROM containing both the two monographs is also available at $20 each. The prices are inclusive of GST.
Those interested can purchase them from the Information Counter at first storey HDB HUB. Alternatively, they can download and print the purchase form from and mail it together with a crossed cheque to: HDB Hub, 480 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, Singapore 310480.
Issued By : Housing & Development Board
Date : 20 Jun 2005

Source: Housing & Development Board Press Release 20 Jun 2005




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21 June 2005