Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: Inequality in Singapore: The Hidden Poor.


A- A+
Alt. Display


Inequality in Singapore: The Hidden Poor.


Arabella Woo

London School of Economics and Political Science, GB
X close


Over the last half a century, Singapore has risen from under British control, gained independence and is considered one of the world’s most competitive economies. The country’s GDP growth has been on “average of 7.7% since independence and topping 9.2% in the first 25 years” (World Bank, 2020). In 2020, the Department of Statistics claimed an all-time low in income inequality, with a GINI coefficient of 0.375. However, there is another side to this story. Singapore’s approach to social needs has been the subject of various debates. Singapore has adopted a Confucian view towards its welfare system, with a focus on family and individual capability. The government refuses to enforce a minimum wage and instead leaves it to the people to ensure their own social security. Although, this may be beneficial in some contexts, the country’s welfare system is letting parts of its population slip through the cracks. Recent research has shown it may be time for Singapore to adapt. With COVID-19 causing more people to face a period of instability, social scientists are questioning if Singapore is taking the correct approach or if it is time to reevaluate. Is it time for Singapore to create a new approach to its social needs? This article aims to look at the current inequalities within Singapore and the role the current welfare state plays there. It will explore some of the current policies and question what else can be done to reduce the still evident inequality in the newly developed country.
How to Cite: Woo, A., 2022. Inequality in Singapore: The Hidden Poor.. LSE International Development Review, 2(2).
Published on 20 Apr 2022.
Peer Reviewed


  • PDF (EN)