Median income in Taiwan highest in 6 years: DGBAS

Housing units are seen in this file photo amid reports that young Taiwan workers cannot afford to buy a house or apartment. In terms of age, the median annual earnings for people under the age of 25 was NT$319,000, compared with NT$548,000 for workers between the age of 40 to 49 and NT$386,000 for people over the age of 65, according to DGBAS data. (NOWnews)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The median annual earnings for employees in Taiwan in 2017 was NT$470,000 (US$15,238), the highest for the last six years, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said on Dec. 24.

Median annual earnings, which includes regular salary plus bonuses, overtime pay, and other irregular income, rose due to a good economy in the first half of 2017 and pay raises, the DGBAS said.

In the previous five years, median annual earnings were NT$436,000 in 2012, NT$438,000 in 2013, NT$449,000 in 2014, NT$458,000 in 2015 and NT$461,000 in 2016, DGBAS data showed.

The DGBAS did not provide figures from before 2012 nor did it provide any inflation-adjusted data for median earnings to allow for a clearer comparison of real earnings growth.

Median earnings reflect the halfway point of income earners, with half of all income earners making more and the other half less. It is usually lower than average earnings because averages are affected by very high incomes at the top of the earnings chain.

By profession, employees in the electricity and natural gas supply industry topped the list for median annual earnings at NT$1.196 million last year, followed by employees working in finance and insurance at NT$889,000, DGBAS data showed.

The median annual earnings for people in health care and the information and communications sector was NT$600,000 in 2017, while that for people in support services, arts and entertainment, and leisure services, hospitality and catering, and education was below NT$400,000, DGBAS data showed.

In terms of age, the median annual earnings for people under the age of 25 was NT$319,000, compared with NT$548,000 for workers between the age of 40 to 49 and NT$386,000 for people over the age of 65, according to DGBAS data.

The statistics bureau also analyzed income distribution by deciles — 10 groups into which Taiwan’s 7.56 million employees in the private sector and at state-run enterprises were divided into based on their average monthly earnings.

The average earnings of the two lowest 10 percent groups of income-earners was NT$262,000 in 2017, compared with NT$1.092 million for workers in the two highest income earning groups.

The figures also showed a narrowing in earnings by gender. Median earnings rose 2.73 percent for women to NT$438,000 in 2017 and rose 1.86 for men to NT$503,000.

By Tsai Peng-min and William Yen