Sun, Aug 17, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Yu pleased with latest figures on wealth-distribution

By Roger Liu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan has a more equal wealth distribution than South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and the US, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday quoting government statistics.

According to the latest statistics issued by the Directorate General of Budget Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), the average disposable income last year was NT$876,000 per household, almost the same as in 2001.

One way to gauge how effectively a nation distributes its wealth is to divide the nation's households into five categories based on disposable income.

The wealthiest quintile earned 6.19 times as much as the poorest quintile, according to the DGBAS. In 2001, the number was 6.39.

"We do better than South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, France and even the US," Yu said.

Under the same measurement system, Japan last year scored 4.8, South Korea, 6.8, France, 7.5, the US, 10.4, Hong Kong, 17.7, and Singapore, 20.9, according to the DGBAS survey.

The disparity between rich and poor in Taiwan has narrowed as a result of effective government policies, Yu said after being briefed by Taipei County Magistrate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on local measures to cut unemployment levels.

The DGBAS survey showed that the Ginni Coefficient -- the international standardized indicator of wealth distribution -- stood at 0.345 last year, down from 0.350 in 2001.

Lower coefficients means that the wealth of a nation is more evenly distributed. A score of 0.4 is defined as a very inequitable wealth distribution, possibly causing social instability, according to economists and sociologists.

Taiwan also enjoyed healthy economic growth last year with a 3.6 percent growth rate, compared with 2.4 percent in the US and 1 percent in the EU, Yu said.

The DGBAS estimates the economic growth rate in the third quarter this year will be 3.96 percent, a 0.79-percent increase from its original forecast in May.

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