Poverty line

Hong Kong plans to set its first official poverty line in 2013. The threshold will be decided by a panel of experts at the Commission on Poverty but is expected to be set at half of the median household income.

In fight against poverty, Hong Kong needs basic respect for workers

A certain proportion of the population will always be below a relative poverty line

The Hong Kong government has made it a priority to reduce poverty. This is good news. It is, of course, the duty of any responsible government to alleviate poverty in the community. However, it is also important to realise that a certain proportion of the population will always be below a relative poverty line (in Hong Kong's case, 50 per cent of the median household income).

Wednesday, 9 October, 2013, 2:49am 2 comments

Reform of CSSA welfare payments urged to bring people out of poverty

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor

About 235,600 people receiving the Comprehensive Social Security Allowance (CSSA) live below the poverty line, meaning they cannot afford a basic living.

7 Oct 2013 - 12:04pm 4 comments

How to eradicate poverty - at least by the official definition

How to eradicate poverty - at least by the official definition

At the weekend, the Hong Kong government rolled out its latest big idea: an official poverty line.

3 Oct 2013 - 2:54am 7 comments

Setting a poverty line is just the start

 Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying chairs the Commission on Poverty Summit to discuss the poverty situation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong government announced its first ever poverty line last weekend. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Over the weekend, more than one million people were officially declared "poor" in Hong Kong. This came after the government released for the first time a poverty line defining who is poor in this city of seven million. Those earning less than half of median monthly household income are classified as needy. That translates into HK$3,600 for a single worker and HK$11,500 for a family of three. After discounting existing benefits paid in cash, some 403,000 households, or 15.2 per cent of the population, are still classified as poor. The figures are disturbing.

30 Sep 2013 - 11:57pm

Carrie Lam proposes one-stop agency to take stigma out of claiming benefits

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor

The government is studying how people can overcome the stigma they experience by claiming social security allowances, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said.

30 Sep 2013 - 8:09pm 3 comments

Jumping up and down about poverty

Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung

"Poverty" is politics. I put it in quotations because it is exactly like "democracy", a highly contested term that can mean anything depending on your ideology and vested interest. Of course it is also about economics, education and social conditions. But let's just focus on one glaring feature from the government's poverty forum which launched - with much fanfare over the weekend - the city's first poverty line with various calculation methods. That is, we can't seem to talk to each other without shouting and jumping up and down.

30 Sep 2013 - 3:32am 2 comments

Sizing up poverty in Hong Kong

Sizing up poverty in Hong Kong

Publication of Hong Kong's first official poverty line at the Commission on Poverty summit on Saturday marked a significant step forward in poverty-alleviation work. As chairwoman of the commission, I am indebted to members for their hard work in the past 10 months.

30 Sep 2013 - 3:32am 5 comments

Tackling poverty in Hong Kong

Like many poor, Tao Xiaorong and his mother live in a tiny room. Photo: Felix Wong

More than a century after the concept was first developed, Hong Kong finally has a poverty line. The city's first official poverty threshold was formalised yesterday, set at half of the median household income. More than 1.3 million Hongkongers live in households that fall below it.

29 Sep 2013 - 2:37pm 2 comments

1.3 million Hongkongers live in poverty, government says, but offers no solution

Leung Chun-ying has highlighted Hong Kong's poverty challenges, but offered no new policy initiatives or targets. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Hong Kong - one of the wealthiest places in the world - has acknowledged for the first time that it has a sizeable poverty problem by declaring that 1.31 million of its citizens are officially poor.

29 Sep 2013 - 8:18am 21 comments

Hong Kong's poverty rate halved if housing subsidies are counted, study finds

Ho Hei-wah, Director, Society For Community Organization (SoCO). Photo: SCMP

The number of poor in Hong Kong drops by almost half - from 1.29 million to 690,000 - if public housing subsidies are counted as part of a family's income, a study found. But experts warned against using public housing as a means of "lifting" people out of poverty, and they fear the government might use such figures to downplay the plight of the poor.

2 Sep 2013 - 7:54am 10 comments

Income the key factor in setting poverty line

An old woman collects cardboard for cash in Causeway Bay. Photo: Felix Wong

Income is the most common measurement for poverty worldwide, although it is used in different ways to reach a definition. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service both use a level of half or less than half of the median household income to define poverty.

23 Aug 2013 - 4:49am 1 comment

Half a million survive on less than HK$120 a day

An old woman collects cardboard for cash in Causeway Bay. Photo: Felix Wong

An estimated 545,000 people in Hong Kong are the poorest of the poor, and our census and social welfare policies have failed them, a new study shows.

2 Aug 2013 - 8:09am 4 comments

330,000 poor public housing tenants may be 'pushed' above poverty line

330,000 poor public housing tenants may be 'pushed' above poverty line

Some 330,000 of Hong Kong's poorest may be raised above the poverty line because they live in low-rent public housing, according to a source familiar with the latest government figures.

About 1.01 million people now fall under the poverty line - the minimum deemed adequate to live in the city - which is set at half the median household income.

8 Jun 2013 - 4:16am 2 comments

Getting facts on poverty is crucial first step

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung recently announced that a poverty line would be defined by the end of the year. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Governments need facts and figures to do the job of governing properly. Hong Kong's lack of an officially recognised poverty line has meant that the poor are prone to fall through cracks in our welfare system. One of our most respected NGOs, the Council of Social Service, contends that one in three elderly people are now needy, putting the number for the first time over 300,000. The figures are shocking for a city so wealthy, but in the absence of official recognition, they are little more than a disturbing statistic.

4 Feb 2013 - 3:02am

Letters to the Editor, February 1, 2013

Many members of the public are still concerned that rents and home prices will continue to rise beyond their affordability. Photo: AP

Legco should back property intervention

The chief executive announced various measures in his policy address to the Legislative Council, aimed at increasing subsidised housing and also at stabilising home prices, especially for lower-income families.

1 Feb 2013 - 3:09am