Malaysian households spent RM4,534 per month on average in 2019, latest statistics show

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Households in Malaysia spent RM4,534 on average per month in 2019, an increase from RM4,033 in 2016, the latest statistics from the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) show.

In the Household Expenditure Survey Report 2019 released today, DOSM noted that the increase in average or mean monthly household spending in Malaysia from 2016 to 2019 was at a rate of 3.9 per cent per annum.

Previous DOSM figures show that the mean monthly household spending has been growing over the years, including from RM1,953 in 2004 to RM2,190 in 2007 and RM3,578 in 2014.

(But when it comes to median monthly household spending, it increased from RM3,314 in 2016 to RM3,654 in 2019. This means that half of the households in Malaysia spent up to RM3,654 in 2019. The median monthly household income in 2019 was at RM5,873, which means half of the Malaysian households earned up to that amount per month in 2019.)

At the same time, the mean monthly household income in Malaysia has also been growing over the years.

The average or mean monthly income of Malaysian households grew moderately at 4.2 per cent from RM6,958 in 2016 to RM7,901 in 2019, DOSM figures show. 

Urban households spend more than rural ones

The average monthly household spending differs according to whether a household is located in an urban or rural area.

The average household spending per month in urban areas increased from RM4,402 in 2016 to RM4,916 in 2019, while rural areas recorded an increase from RM2,725 (2016) to RM3,038 (2019).

“This indirectly reflects that the mean household consumption expenditure in urban areas was 1.6 times higher than the mean household expenditure in rural areas.

“The increase in expenditure in the urban area is also in line with the increase in mean income of urban households which was 1.7 times higher (RM8,635) than rural households (RM5,004),” DOSM said.

The mean monthly household income in urban areas increased from RM7,671 in 2016 to RM8,635 in 2019, while the increase in rural areas was from RM4,359 in 2016 to RM5,004 in 2019.

As for what Malaysian households spend on, DOSM observed that basic necessities usually dominate household expenditure.

As a whole, four out of 12 categories alone accounted for 68.3 per cent of total household spending in 2019 (housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels at 23.6 per cent, food and non-alcoholic beverages at 17.3 per cent, restaurants and hotels at 13.9 per cent and transport at 13.5 per cent).

Urban and rural households again differ on where they spend most of their money, with the highest expenditure for urban households being the housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel category at 24 per cent, and for rural households being food and non-alcoholic beverages at 24.4 per cent.

Living costs also differ from state to state, due to different prices in commodities, household income levels and the ability of households to cope with rising prices, DOSM said.

In 2019, four states and two federal territories recorded average monthly household spending that exceeded the national average of RM4,534, namely Putrajaya (RM7,980), Kuala Lumpur (RM6,913), Selangor (RM5,830), Melaka (RM4,955), Johor (RM4,793) and Penang (RM4,630).