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Latest government data shows widening of rich-poor divide

2017/03/29 17:53:25

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) Government figures on the monthly earnings of Taiwan's workers in 2016 indicate that the gap between rich and poor in the country is growing wider.

The median monthly earnings of Taiwanese workers in 2016 was NT$40,612 (US$1,344), or only 83.24 percent of average monthly earnings of NT$48,790, according to figures released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

The ratio has fallen steadily since 2011, when the ratio was 85.11 percent and Taiwanese workers had median monthly earnings of NT$38,870 and average monthly earnings of NT$45,508.

That the gap between the two of NT$6,638 in 2011 had widened to NT$8,178 by 2016 reflected a greater concentration of income among high salary earners, who disproportionately affect average income figures, and consequently a widening gap between rich and poor.

The median monthly earnings figures also indicated that half of Taiwan's workers earned less than NT$487,000 last year.

Monthly earnings cover both regular salary and non-regular income such as overtime and bonuses.

The DGBAS divided Taiwan's 7.45 million employees in the private sector and at state-run enterprises into 10 groups based on their monthly earnings to calculate its median monthly earnings figures.

The lowest 10 percent of income earners averaged NT$25,127 in monthly earnings in 2016, compared with NT$79,421 for workers in the second highest 10 percent of income earners.

The data also showed a narrowing in the earnings of the two sexes. The median salary for women in 2016 rose 0.66 percent to NT$37,431 for women while that for men fell 0.86 percent to NT$43,955.

(By Chen Cheng-wei and Lilian Wu)
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