Hong Kong

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Poverty in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the richest cities in the world today, with mean property prices are about 40% higher than in London. [1] As a result, poverty is one of the biggest problems facing Hong-Kong. With a Gini coefficient of 53.3, Hong Kong income inequality measured as the worst in Asia. Income inequality has increased over the past few years. In 1981, the lowest income group shared a measly 1.4% of total monthly household income, while on the other hand the highest income group shared 35.2%. Statistics in 2001 found those same two figures to be 0.9% and 41.2%. (4) [2] Out of the 7 million people living with an average income per capita of almost US $30,000, 1.2 million live below the poverty line in Hong Kong. [3]

A 2011 survey by the UK found that the city’s top selling properties would be going for around $10,550 per square foot. Hong Kong has become one the most expensive city to live in, with some of the highest rental rates, over London and New York. This wealth gap has created these “coffin homes” that people are forced to live in with their low monthly salary and rising real-estate prices. They consist of 15 foot squared rooms that have just barely enough room for a bed. Even these “coffin homes”, over the past have increased in cost by 20%. There are more than 300,000 people in Hong Kong waiting for public housing that will not receive assistance anytime soon.[4]

Income Distribution In Hong Kong

Percentile 1996 2001 2006
10th 5412 4850 4200
20th 8457 8206 7500
30th 11070 10961 10100
40th 13889 14550 13600
50th 17220 18144 17250
60th 20663 22310 21500
70th 25584 28130 27400
80th 33151 36540 36000
90th 48462 53350 53750

This table refers to monthly household income in Hong Kong. The household income of the lowest decile has decreased from 1996 to 2006.


  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/hongkong/8818102/Hong-Kong-under-pressure-as-poverty-levels-rise.html
  2. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f7f9bdfc-3204-11df-a8d1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1sIx2U0aM Pilling, David. "Poverty Blights the Dream of Hong Kong." Columnists. 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.
  3. http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/07/25/hongkong.coffin.homes/index.html Gottlieb, Benjamin. "Hong Kong's Poorest Living in 'coffin Homes'" CNN. Cable News Network, 26 July 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.
  4. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html The World Factbook 2009. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency
  5. Henrad, Valentine. "INCOME INEQUALITY & PUBLIC EXPENDITURE ON SOCIAL POLICY IN HONG KONG." Civic Exchange. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www.civic-exchange.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/110729IncomeInequality.pdf>.

6. Poverty in Hong Kong. Retrieved April 23, 2012 from http://www.hkcss.org.hk/cb4/ecp/pov_rate_91-05.pdf

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