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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 4:37pm
NewsHong Kong

Number of poor rising in Hong Kong

Median household earnings of lowest-income group in Hong Kong is HK$3,400 a month, up just HK$400 in nine years, says Oxfam

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 November, 2012, 7:29am


  • Yes: 81%
  • No: 19%
14 Nov 2012
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 456

The median salary of Hong Kong's top earners is HK$88,800 a month, 26.1 times the poorest 10 per cent, government figures show.

Overall, one in six people, or 17.6 per cent of 6.7 million people, struggled with poverty in the second quarter of this year, up 0.6 percentage points from last year, Oxfam Hong Kong said.

The figures, retrieved by the group from the Census and Statistics Department, show that the median household income of the lowest-income group was HK$3,400 a month. That was an increase of HK$400 in the last nine years, during which time the city's richest 10 per cent saw their median monthly income surge by HK$18,800.

In 2003, the top 10 per cent of the city's households made HK$70,000 a month - 23.3 times the lowest-paid group.

"The income gap between the rich and the poor has been increasing over the years. The number of poor people in Hong Kong has also been steady and slightly growing," said Oxfam director general Stephen Fisher. A 10-year high of 194,100 households with at least one family member working were considered poor - living on less than half the median income for city households of corresponding size. On that basis, someone who earns less than HK$3,600, or HK$8,000 for a two-member family, is considered poor.

The poverty rate among working households was 10 per cent - the second-highest rate since 2008, and the same as in 2003 and 2009.

This category covers people who are doing a full-time job, yet still make an income that leaves them unable to take care of their families, Fisher said. "I think this is a serious problem."

Between 60 and 70 per cent of working-poor households consisted of three or four family members, said Wong Shek-hung, acting Hong Kong programme manager for Oxfam, citing statistics since 2003.

She added that while 113,500 working-poor households had a monthly income lower than Comprehensive Social Security Assistance could offer, only 9.8 per cent of them, or 11,067 households, lived on CSSA.

Wong attributed this reluctance among the poor to seek the assistance to a "negative perception of CSSA recipients", which tarred those who relied on aid as lazy.

Fisher, who is on the government-appointed Commission on Poverty, said he would urge authorities to introduce a low-income family allowance for the working poor who earned less than CSSA payments but were loath to apply for assistance.

He also advocated an annual review of the minimum wage level. It is now reviewed at least once every two years.

Meanwhile, government figures released in June showed that the city's Gini coefficient - a scale from 0 to 1 on which higher scores indicate greater income inequality - reached a record high of 0.537 last year.


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HK is a place to make money or be made money. Not a place for humans.
The main problem is Hong kong does not have pension plan. The CSSA is only for people who got nothing. Also on the other hand i discovered that people love to live in these cage and coffin homes. i do not know why, but almost all of them are very happy there. Government should built more old age homes where they can provide them free accommodation and other services.
many elderly people who have been living in these cage and coffin homes, do not wish to go other place then why not provide them "elderly homes" where they can live together and happily. i am sure these people will not be happy in housing as they would not like to live in home alone.
The HK govt has the mindset of making money and accumulating huge reserves from her own people. Apart from the Govt Associates (tycoons, civil servants, welfare dependants, licensed monopolies), all other non-associate ordinary people are most likely to be exploited.
HK is a rich financial centre for the rich and the vested interest. The majority poor have to suffer either with long working hours (or two jobs) or live in poverty. Vote with your feet and leave HK for china where there is more opportunities.
Despite the intangible core values of democracy, freedom and rule of law, HK achieved the followings
- High Suicide Rates (no better than that of China, charcoal burning vs self-immolation)
- Lower Birth Rate (lower than that of China, self abortion vs forced abortion)
- Higher Rate of Mental Disorder (witnessed in public places like libraries, markets)
- Fewer number of SMILING FACES on streets in HK (in case you meet one, that must be the mainlander)
(dirty statistics but anybody who has experiences of living in both places could tell you)
then please go back to china where you belong commie
I've gone to china the moment when 99.99% HKer tacitly (and unethically)approved govt to deprive the 1.67m HK descendant mainlanders the right of abode some 11 yrs ago.
HK is a place to make money or be made money. Not a place for humans.
i am paying tax in sar since 17 years wat we can expect from govt.v basic lowu to hung hom or tst fare hkd-36.6 and even more longer route over the boundry lowu to sz airport rmb-8. is this is normal? this just one example how many others u all shud know also. people are living in cuffin houses but officials just worry for the things not related to sar benefits.how much write no one from officials have time to read this all
when i say somw thing here people think wrong way.but happens to SAR in just 14 yrs and wat more critical is going to happen.you see the situation of the sar departments from top to lowest level.u can see public transport.hospitals.how much benefit to sar.no official is questionable now
I've send out a email to some of my friends to push for changes. If you agree please cut and paste and send to your friends and politician to push for changes. Thanks.
This is how Shameful is HK having 18 people sharing a 200 sq ft. room with only one bath room, they called it a coffin home charging $1300 to 1500 a month. Coffin home is worst than Cage Home as it is much smaller. I saw the show on ATV Asia Policy Unit few days ago probably worst than the links below. It is even shameful that the poor can no longer afford the humiliating cage home now but need to go for Coffin Home of 2.5 ft by 6 ft and about 3 ft tall. That's a Coffin size. Can u believe it!
It is estimated over 20,000 live in the industrial subdivided rooms alone. Probably did not include this coffin homes. Shameful and scary HK.
I'm writing to you to ask you to reach out to your friends and politicians to push for changes.
Please pass on the email to your friends to support these poor people, or I call it "slave".
Some other links for your info.
( this one you see how government departments are saying not their responsibility)
I'm very disturbed to see we have hard working people, security guards and cooks alike, live a slave life in HK. Very Shameful.
Not only the government is doing nothing but even our elected Legco members are ignoring the issue but arguing for nonsense everyday. I have not heard a single political agenda from these politicians to fight for these poor group. But rather I am seeing they are wasting time asking officials to resign etc etc. or arguing for much less critical issues such as tearing down of the so-called illegal structures that are housing many needy people.
I don't think increase of minimum pay will solve the problem as landlord will keep raising rent. They need government help. I hope they won't wait to take a serious look until a big fire outbreak potentially kill many. It will be too late.
I think Legco needs to stop the nonsense and work with Government to set a deadline say 3 years, i hope less, to develop housing for these people.
Please reach out to your friends and your elected officials to push for this happening. To redeem HK sins.



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