Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 2 News List

DGBAS says Taiwanese quality of life improving

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

The increased level of consumer spending, which totaled NT$7.07 trillion (US$214.89 billion) last year, reflects improvements in people's quality of life, the Cabinet's statistics agency said yesterday.

The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said that consumer spending increased 2.2 percent year-on-year.

An in-depth analysis of consumer spending over the past decade shows that the percentage of spending on basic necessities -- such as food, water, shelter and clothing -- has declined steadily. Conversely, spending on entertainment and education has been on an upward spiral -- a trend that points to higher standards of living following increases in the nation's per-capita income, DGBAS officials said.

Last year, spending on food continued to represent the lion's share of overall consumer spending at 23.6 percent, but the figure marked a decline of 0.5 percentage points over that of a decade earlier.

Rent and water bills accounted for 14.6 percent of total consumer spending, down 2.8 percentage points from the level registered a decade ago, DGBAS officials said, adding that the percentage of spending on clothing also dropped 0.9 percentage points to a mere 3.7 percent of total spending.

In contrast, the ratio of spending on travel, entertainment, recreation, education and cultural services increased by 1.9 percentage points to reach 18.7 percent of total spending, the officials said.

As life expectancy has risen steadily over the past decade, medical and health care bills have also spiked, with the ratio surging 1.5 percentage points to reach 9.1 percent of total household spending last year.

The prevalence of mobile phone and Internet services has driven up the ratio of spending on transportation and communications to 11.9 percent, or 0.8 percentage points higher than the figure a decade ago, the officials said.

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