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Amid reports that SG will have even more millionaires in 2025, NUS group underlines the homelessness problem

The rich will get more $$$$ as the world emerges from the pandemic, but the future of Singapore’s homeless remains uncertain.

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Singapore — According to a Jun 23 (Wednesday) Bloomberg report, the number of millionaires in Singapore can be expected to increase by 62 per cent by 2025.

However, this does not mean that the future is equally rosy for everyone.

On the contrary, the Covid-19 pandemic has only served to strengthen wealth inequality all over the globe, as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has pointed out.

Many of the world’s wealthiest have actually gotten richer since last year, mainly because of slashed interest rates due to the pandemic.

And in Singapore, the Bloomberg report says the number of millionaires may increase by over 60 per cent from 2020 to 2025, based on Credit Suisse Group AG.

What does this look like in numbers? 

Last year, Singapore had 270,000 millionaires. By 2025, this figure could increase to 437,000.

In comparison to others in the region, the increase of Singapore’s wealthiest outpaces that of Hong Kong but is slower than in mainland China, India, Australia, South Korea, and Tawian.

Last year, the percentage of millionaires in Hong Kong was 8.3, the highest in the region, while Singapore’s was at 5.5 per cent.

Moreover, Bloomberg added that Singapore’s Gini coefficient, which measures wealth inequality, was 78.3 last year. This figure is significantly higher than in Taiwan (70.8),  South Korea (67.6), and Japan (64.4).

Additionally, the top one per cent of Singapore’s richest has a 34 per cent wealth share, again significantly larger than Taiwan (28 per cent),  South Korea (24 per cent) and Japan (18 per cent).

“In a small country like Singapore, higher wealth inequality can result from an unrepresentative cluster of very high net-worth individuals,” Bloomberg quotes Credit Suisse Group AG as saying.

But what about the homeless?

According to the UNDP, “The virus is ruthlessly exposing the gaps between the haves and the have nots, both within and between countries.”

In 2019, Singapore had its first-ever street count that showed there were around 1,000 homeless people around the country.

While this may not seem to be a large number relatively speaking, CAPE, the Community for Advocacy and Political Education, which is led by students from Yale-NUS and NUS, recently highlighted Singapore’s homelessness problem in an infographic.

Calling the homeless “a real, but invisible” group within the country, the group called homelessness “a chronic issue, not just a mere anomaly to our gleaming, wealthy metropolis.”

It added that homelessness is often a long-term problem for people who sleep rough, lasting over six years for one-third of rough sleepers.

IG screengrab: cape.sg

Furthermore, CAPE underlined that there is “STILL” no legal definition for homelessness in the country, which matters because it limits how the problem will be tackled.

CAPE wrote that contrary to popular thinking that being homeless is one’s fault, homelessness “is in realist an interplay of both personal AND structural, systemic factors” such as the poverty cycle/trap, unforeseen circumstances, and others.

The group acknowledged that non-governmental organizations, as well as activists, the Government, and media, have highlighted the problem of homelessness more recently, and added that it believes it’s a problem that can be eradicated.


Read also: Social activist Gilbert Goh posts photo of “the most pitiful homeless person”

Social activist Gilbert Goh posts photo of “the most pitiful homeless person”


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