According to survey findings by milieu, the top five issues Singaporeans care about most are cost of living, public transport, health care costs, housing prices and inflation. The bottom five issues? Problems in third world countries, car prices, artificial intelligence, net neutrality and same sex marriage.
As Singapore is rated the world’s most expensive city for the fifth consecutive year in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 Worldwide Cost of Living report, it doesn’t come as a surprise that cost of living is the most important issue to Singaporeans. 91% of respondents say that cost of living is important to them, with this figure jumping to 97% in Ang Mo Kio GRC, where an overwhelming majority of the residents in PM Lee Hsien Loong’s constituency say that cost of living is important to them.
The survey was conducted in January 2018 among a sample of 1,905 Singapore residents aged 18 and above by independent consumer market research company, Milieu Insight. The data has been weighted to ensure that it represents the online population of Singapore in terms of age and gender demographics. The survey polled respondents on the importance of topics like education, health care costs, sexual harassment, income tax, racial harmony and more.
The highlight of the survey is a constituency map of Singapore that reveals which topic each constituency cares about more than any other constituency. To achieve this, the data was normalized by issue to identify the relative differences between constituencies. For example, elderly care is more important to residents in Holland - Bukit Timah GRC as compared to other constituencies which could indicate a demographic skew towards older age groups within this constituency.
Additionally, Tampines GRC residents who are considerably more concerned about inflation may be relieved knowing that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has recently announced the tightening of Singapore’s monetary policy, to combat rising inflation.
The opposition Workers’ Party may have the most ‘politically invested’ constituency, as survey findings show that its Aljunied GRC residents are most concerned about who the next Prime Minister is than any other constituency.
Younger Singaporeans also tend to be more ‘politically apathetic’ than older Singaporeans, with only 48% of Singaporeans below 29 years old concerned about the General Elections as compared to 64% of Singaporeans above 45. This could be reflecting a rising trend of Singaporeans adopting an attitude of apathy not only in politics but in public as well. An example of this is a lack of concern in situations that do not affect them like traffic accidents or public disputes because it is just “too troublesome” or because of a “don’t care lah” mentality.
Stereotypes aside, your gender may play a part in your passion for certain issues. Survey results reveal that money related issues are more important to men than women, with men rating topics like housing prices, car prices, cost of living, income tax, ERP costs, and inflation more important than women. On the other hand, social issues like sexual harassment, elderly care, cybersecurity, poverty, same sex marriage, education are more important to women than men.
Another interesting survey result also shows that the higher the income group respondents belong, the less issues they care about. Respondents who belong to the higher income group (a combined household income of more than $12,000 a month) are generally less concerned about these issues, where one third of the topics were rated with less than 50% importance whereas for the lower income group (a combined household income of less than $6,000 a month) only one sixth of the topics were rated with less than 50% importance.