Sat, Aug 18, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Income gap remained steady last year, DGBAS says

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

The average annual disposable income of the richest families in the nation reached 6.17 times that of the poorest last year, slightly lower than the 6.19 times recorded in 2010, indicating the nation’s wealth gap remained relatively steady, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday.

However, if social welfare subsidies and tax benefits were excluded, the ratio between the highest-income group and the lowest-income group would have reached 7.75 times last year — the second-highest level on record — indicating a wider gap, DGBAS data showed.

The income gap widened after the global financial crisis, with the average annual disposable income of the richest families reaching 6.34 times that of the poorest in 2009, the second-highest level ever.

The ratio narrowed to 6.19 in 2010, the third-highest level in history, and dipped to 6.17 last year, the fourth-highest level ever, data showed.

“Through the government’s solutions on raising social welfare subsidies, the domestic gap in disposable income has been steady compared with the past two years,” DGBAS statistics division director Tsai Hung-kun (蔡鴻坤) told a press conference in Taipei.

The DGBAS has conducted an annual survey of family incomes and expenditures since 1964 to keep tabs on wealth distribution.

The survey divides families into five brackets in terms of annual disposable income, with the top 20 percent defined as the richest and the bottom 20 percent as the poorest.

The latest survey found that the average annual disposable income of the richest families was NT$1.83 million (US$60,950) last year, compared with NT$296,000 for those in the poorest bracket.

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