Almost 50% Of Homeless People In S’pore Are Found In City Area; Study Shows

There has been a lot of debate and general unhappiness regarding Singapore being a wealthy country without truly taking into account the number of people who aren’t well off.

For a long while, no concrete study on the homeless has been conducted in Singapore. Not on this scale, anyway.

More Than 50% Of Homeless People In S’pore Are Found In CBD Area; Study Shows

And the findings of that study? Around 1,000 homeless people live on the streets of Singapore.

Image: Tenor

The study was led by Ng Kok Hoe who is an assistant professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy (LKYSPP) and is the first of its kind.

The study is aimed to determine the scale of homelessness here in Singapore and was revealed yesterday (8 November 2019).

So you must be wondering how the study was conducted:

Well, 480 volunteers from more than 20 non-governmental organisations and the public were involved.

They scoured through a whopping 12,000 blocks of residential flats, public and commercial spaces over three months this year.

All of them had to be deployed within one night and at the same time (around 11.30pm) to observe and carry out interviews.


There are homeless people all over Singapore. That’s a fact, although the number varies.

There are more homeless people in larger and older housing estates and estates with more rental flats.

What might be more shocking to some is that there are significantly more homeless persons in the city area.

Image: Tenor

The largest number was found to be in the city (251), Bedok (60), Jurong West (53) and Kallang (51).

Comparatively, less than 10 people were found in areas such as Choa Chu Kang (6), Sembawang (6), Queenstown (5) and Punggol (1).


More Homeless Men Than Women

The study found that most of the homeless people in Singapore were older Chinese men. Men made up 87% of the homeless.

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That said, this doesn’t mean that the number of homeless women was low. Almost 100 women were found to be sleeping in public areas.

Agewise, 50% of the homeless were reported to be around 50 years old or older. A third of them were in their 20s to 40s.

46% were Chinese, 16% were Malay and 11% were Indian.

They Are Mostly Found To Sleep At Void Decks

31.9% of the homeless slept at void decks, while 28.6% slept at commercial buildings. Around 50% slept at public housing estates.

Other spaces include pavilions and playgrounds (10.1%), parks (6.3%) and coffee-shops and hawker centres (6.1%).

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Sadly, only 10% had soft bedding like blankets and pillows.

Interview With 88 Of The Homeless

Around 88 of the homeless who were awake were interviewed. It was found that they were mostly Singaporeans.


All of them were either single, separated, divorced or widowed and have low education. 76% had secondary school education and below.

Most said they were homeless because of unemployment, irregular work and low wages (47%), while others said they had family conflicts (37%) and inability to pay rent and mortgage or sold their house (27%).

Most of those who were interviewed had “low paying jobs” while 40% were looking for jobs. These jobs included cleaning (27%), security (10%) and retail (8%).

25% of the interviewed had only eaten one meal a day or none.

If you can read this on your phone, you really shouldn’t take that for granted.



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