Almost 15 per cent of Hongkongers lack the ability to meet their most basic needs, a new study on poverty conducted by The Hong Kong Council of Social Service and Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Social Work has revealed.

The study involved interviews with 1,980 Hongkongers on their abilities to afford basic necessities such as furniture, food, clothes, healthcare, community facilities and other services. It found that 14.5 per cent of interviewees were unable to meet such needs.

poverty poor hong kong
File photo: HKFP.

Among different demographic groups, elderly people who lived alone were the most in need, with 37.1 per cent of them being unable to afford the basics.

The state of health care was found to be of particular concern, with 33.7 per cent unable to afford dental check-ups and 12.7 per cent unable to afford visits to a private doctor. Thirty-two per cent believed governmental outpatient services to be inadequate or inaccessible, while 33.1 per cent felt the same way about public accident and emergency services.

A Hong Kong hospital.
A Hong Kong hospital. File

The study further found that 12.8 per cent of Hongkongers were also unable to take part in leisure activities with friends or families over the weekend.

The Hong Kong Council of Social Service’s Business Director of Policy Research and Advocacy Anthony Wong Kin-wai said that poverty was a word that illustrated social disadvantages, and that it included – not just the lack of money – but also one’s standard of living. Therefore, it was necessary to employ other tools to look at poverty in the city.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.