Research for policy : mapping poverty in Hong Kong and the policy implications

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Journal article

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Journal of Societal and Social Policy

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Casa Verde Publishing


Poverty, Hong Kong, Population Census, Conventional Income Threshold Measurement, Low-Income Households, Equivalization


There is no official poverty line in Hong Kong. The government has never attempted to formulate an official definition of poverty. It was argued that it was difficult to have an agreed definition of poverty or of who is poor and that any definition of poverty would involve the exercise of subjective value judgment. However, establishing a poverty line is important to evaluate the effectiveness of any current policy to surmount poverty. This article is set in the context of a discussion of how poverty research (i.e., research methodology and research findings) can aid policy formation. It first briefly summarizes where past research on poverty in Hong Kong has got to, its achievements and limitations. Second, it uses a secondary data analysis of the 1 percent sample of the Hong Kong 2001 Population Census to provide an updated profile of low-income households, using the conventional income threshold measurement of poverty, which is measured in term of households with income below 60 percent of the median for the whole equivalized distribution. Third, it illustrates the contributions and limitations of only using conventional income threshold measurement of poverty. Finally, it suggests relevant implications for policy makers drawn from the findings of this study.

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Recommended Citation

Lau, M. K. W. (2005). Research for policy: Mapping poverty in Hong Kong and the policy implications. Journal of Societal and Social Policy, 4(3), 1-16.