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What Is The Average Household Expenditure In Malaysia?

Households in KL had one of the highest average monthly expenditures.


Malaysian households spent an average of RM5,150 a month in 2022. This was 11.7% more than the RM4,609 they used to spend in 2019. With 40% of Malaysians worried about inflation, rising household expenditure is a topic on everyone’s mind. 

Most households in Malaysia tend to spend their money on necessities such as housing, water, electricity, gas & other fuels (23.2%), food (16.3%) and transport (11.3%). Another big expense for many households is restaurant and accommodation services (16.1%). 

Apart from these four main expense areas, the chart below shows that Malaysian households tend to spend very little on other types of expenses.   

Source: Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) 

(all screenshots are from DOSM) 

Read Also: Which States In Malaysia Are The Most Affordable To Live In As A Retiree?  

Households In Putrajaya Spent The Most On Average 

The average monthly expenditures for households in more urbanised areas such as Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are highest. In Putrajaya, the average monthly consumption expenditure was the highest, at RM8,987. 

Households in Kuala Lumpur had the second highest average monthly expenditure at RM7,823 followed by households in Selangor at RM6,770. 

Meanwhile, in the states of Kedah, Kelantan and Sabah, average monthly expenditure was lowest at RM3,765, RM3,505 and RM3,342 respectively. 

The average monthly expenditures for urban areas had increased as much as 4.2% as compared to rural areas that increased by 3.7%. Urban households also tend to have higher expenditure for eating out than rural households.  

Read Also: Median Household Income By State: How Much Do Malaysian Households Earn 

Malaysian Households Spent The Most On Housing And Utilities 

As housing is one of the largest purchases individuals may make, it’s not surprising that the average household spent RM1,193 on housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels each month. This also makes it the biggest monthly expense for households each month. 

Most of the expenditure went to rent at RM910 and electric bills at RM140. 

Food and beverages are the next biggest monthly expenses for households – at RM841. In this category, groceries such as fish and seafood cost the most, with households spending RM198 on average. 

The third biggest expense for Malaysian households was restaurant and accommodation services, at RM831 a month. Going to restaurants, cafes and the like made up the bulk of these expenses, comprising RM732 out of the total RM831 spent in this category.  

In fact, restaurant and accommodation services are the expenses that had increased the most, by 2.4%, in 2022 as compared to 2019. Health expenses increased by 0.8% after which is followed by insurance and financial services at 0.5%. The expenditure for furnishing, household equipment and routine household maintenance also went up by 0.3%. 

Fresh off the pandemic in 2022, perhaps some households invested more in their health and protection like medical insurance. More Malaysians could also be working from home at that time, so a higher expenditure is recorded for furnishing-related items. 

On the other hand, the expenditures for transport fell by 2.1% in 2022 as compared to 2019. Food and beverages as well as clothing and shoes had decreased by 0.6% in expenditure as well. 

On average, Malaysian households spent RM584 on transport and RM337 on information and communication devices and services.  

Malaysian households spent the lowest on education services with a mean consumption monthly expenditure of RM68. The Malaysian government offers several school assistance schemes including the Textbook Loan Scheme and the Underprivileged Student Trust Fund, which helps parents send their children to school.  

Chinese Households Spent More Than Bumiputera And Indian Households 

Interestingly, Chinese households spent 1.2 times what Bumiputera households spent, and 1.1 times what Indian households spent. However, the figures also point to Bumiputera and Indian households catching up more quickly – with higher growth in household expenses compared to Chinese households. 

Compared to Chinese and Indian households, Bumiputera households allocated more of their expenses to the food & beverages category – pointing to the fact that they tend to cook more at home.  

Within the insurance & financial services category, Chinese and Indian households tend to allocate higher expenses than Bumiputera households. 

Income Influences A Household’s Spending Power And Expenditures 

While Malaysian households’ gross income grew by 2.4% p.a. from 2019 to 2022, the average household expenditure went up by 3.4% p.a. in the same time.  

In totality, fewer Malaysian households are spending less than RM2,000 on household expenses each month. In fact, many Malaysian households are also struggling to keep expenses between the RM2,000-RM3,999 range. 

Many more Malaysian households are spending between the RM4,000-RM5,999 and RM6,000 to RM7,999 range. In contrast, fewer Malaysian households were able to increase their households’ income within the same band.   


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