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Singapore is the world’s richest country despite widening income gap

Posted by temasektimes on August 15, 2012

Singapore is now the world’s richest country, thanks to the ‘astute’ management under the PAP government.

According to the Wealth Report 2012 published by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, Singapore has the highest GDP per capita in 2010 at USD$56,532 and is expected to continue to be the global leader in 20150.

Trailing closely behind Singapore is Norway at about SGD $63,000 (USD $51,226), then the U.S. at about SGD $56,200 (USD $25,511), followed by Hong Kong at almost SGD $56,000 (USD $45,301).

The report also forecasts that Singapore’s GDP per capita will more than double to about SGD $170,000 (USD $137,710).

However, the figures may be skewed by the large numbers of cash-rich foreigners who have relocated to Singapore in recent years such as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Despite the rosy figures, Singapore has the highest income gap between the rich and the poor among the thirty most developed economies in the world after Hong Kong.

GDP per capita has been roundly criticized by many economists including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz as being an inaccurate indicator to reflect the general well-being of the people.


27 Responses to “Singapore is the world’s richest country despite widening income gap”

  1. Marie said

    Go Singapore. . Be the world number 1. .Glad Singapore is in Southeast Asia. .

  2. Gardener said

    PAP well done!!!!

  3. P Koh said

    I rather see a First class treatment for the unfortunate poor and needy,many of whom are finding it hard to even have two decent meals a day. Just do not discard the poor and old because many of them have gone into poverty not by design but due to circumstances that changes were too fast for them to cope and they just have fallen back. Have a Heart and put aside some funds to seek out these poor folks instead of sending 4 billions dollars to help European countries overcome their financial problems.

    • Commentator said

      You do know that this is not true, especially the part about “unfortunate poor and needy,many of whom are finding it hard to even have two decent meals a day”.

      You are just talking about people who can survive, but have no money to enjoy life. People complain about COE prices. This is a luxury, not a necessity. People complain about rising flat prices. But they already have a home, it’s not as if they are living on the streets.

      Unfortunately, here’s the brutal truth: While it’s the government’s job to ensure needs are fulfiled and people can live safely, it is under no obligation to let people enjoy life.

      Letting people enjoy life is not a duty, but it does help gain votes.

  4. hae min said

    Since when US Dollar so strong?? SGD $56,200 = USD $25,511

  5. sfghfgh said

    please abolish GDP CRAP

  6. Sean said

    Read similar reports in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s…. all of their projections are wrong. Global economy is too complex to make projection like this (to 2050). How are the growth in India and China sustained by? Anyway…. don’t ever believe in these…

  7. Lancheowwei said

    it’s nothing but lies, damn lies and statistics. Per capita GDP is a misleading indicator of ‘wealth’, a more accurate statistic would be the median household income using purchasing power parity dollars. Also a comparison between mean vs median per capita GDP should reveal how a small but rich minority skews the result.

    • Daniel Foo said

      Agree totally. None of the people near me seems rich enough to be in the most richest country. lol

    • Commentator said

      Actually, Singapore’s GDP PPP is really very high as compared to other Western countries. The only difference is that it’s the Asian culture to save (and complain when savings are running out), but many in Western countries are perfectly happy to spend and live on credit even.

      That’s why they seem so rich, able to spend on lots of stuff, but in reality, they can afford less. Just look at the prices of basic stuff like food and transport in any developed Western country… Ouch.

    • RealityCheck said

      Agreed. Technically, it is also right to say that Singapore has the highest debt ratio per citizen as all of us are servicing housing loans either from HDB or Banks. Not to mention that if you consider the restrictive conditions applied to the funds in CPF, that portion of the wealth will never get utlised fully – as good as not our money.

      Factor these in and the picture will come out bleak…….world’s richest country my foot!


  8. Q said

    Focus on creation of wealth is the right first step but now we need to take the 2nd step to see how we can distribute it more evenly esp. on the needy.

    • Commentator said

      That isn’t equality. That is equity. Equity isn’t in our pledge or national anthem. The government is under no obligation to redistribute money after the point where the poor’s needs (food, jobs, etc.) are met.

      However, it is undeniable that the government may have to go past this point in order to maintain social harmony between the rich and the poor. Yet, it cannot redistribute so much money such that there is no motivation to work since people can slack and still get redistributed money.

      That’s the difficult part… How much redistribution is enough?

  9. SgGuy said

    yay!! i feel so rich reading this article, just like that joker who felt so rich looking at his CPF statement. PUI!!

  10. Playfair said

    Well done to the PAP Goverment. The richest but look at the Singaporeans suffering with high living standards, transportation,healthcare and many more.
    So what if we are the richest, how does this benefit the average a low income Singaporean.

    • Commentator said

      High living standards? You must be joking. Compared with developed countries (Western countries), their food and transport costs are way higher!

      The government is to blame for the massive influx of immigration, causing such high inflation in a short time. This would have happened anyway, but maybe the impact could be lessened.

      Still, focusing income inequality is playing politics of jealousy. Singapore is a capitalist economy, not a communist society. As long as one has enough to live, that’s enough, the government has done its duty. The government is obliged to provide for the needs of its citizens, but is not obliged to let its citizens enjoy life.

      Letting citizens enjoy life is not the duty of the government. It is an extra, to gain votes.

      • Simon Chan said

        To Commentator: Transport cost may be higher in the West compared to Singapore, but there are also many social welfare schemes that help to make living affordable, if not comfortable. A person doing the equivalent work in Norway (say as a bus driver) enjoys a far higher standard of living than a bus driver in Singapore. So, don’t talk rubbish.

  11. Naivety said

    Only benefits the world richest papaya party & MIWs who seems to be getting richer & had their funds transferred to some swiss bank accounts overseas to prevent detection!!!

  12. Nice!

  13. kaypoh said

    Yeah, by the same logic Singaporeans must also be the world’s richest in sperm, since hardly any of it gets to the place needed to make babies 😉

  14. Paul said

    Average GDP per capita is an insufficient indicator of a country’s well-being. A better measure is the median GDP per capita. Data on that appears difficult to come by.

    Separately, the Wealth Report’s audience are high net worth individuals (HNWI) and their advisers: Where to best settle, own a second home and such. Thus, the report doesn’t intended to portray living standards of the average Singaporean (or any other nationality). The full report is available at

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