Abstract: Hong Kong has remained a wealthy financial hub but its income inequality is greater than that in any developed economy. The growing unequal income distribution and poverty in Hong Kong have aroused public concern. This book brings together some of Hong Kong’s and the UK’s leading experts to examine poverty in Hong Kong from three perspectives: 1, public understanding of poverty, and the extent of poverty and social exclusion in Hong Kong society, 2, poverty and health as well as child poverty and educational opportunities in Hong Kong, and 3, effectiveness of poverty alleviation measures in Hong Kong. On this basis, this book timely advances the theory and practice of poverty and social exclusion measurement, and will inspire comparative research and policy analyses for better policy initiatives. This collection was inspired by the workshop formed one key research output of the Poverty and Social Exclusion in Hong Kong (PSEHK) project funded by the Research Grants Council and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.poverty.hk/).
Introduction: Poverty in a Rich Society — The Case of Hong Kong
Maggie Lau (Guest Editor)
Nelson W. S. Chow
Maggie Lau, Christina Pantazis, David Gordon, Lea Lai and Eileen Sutton
Florence Meng-soi Fong and Chack-kie Wong
Roger Y. Chung and Samuel Y. S. Wong
Ka Ho Mok
Abstract: There has been growing research interest into poverty and social exclusion in Hong Kong over the past 30 years. However, the development of surveys in this field continues to be primarily ‘top-down’ or ‘expert-led’. ‘Bottom-up’ or ‘lay’ perspectives, utilising the views of ordinary members of the public, are rarely incorporated. This article discusses the use of consensual focus group methods to advance the theory and practice of poverty and social exclusion measurement in Hong Kong. By adapting the UK Poverty and Social Exclusion Study 2012 to the Hong Kong context, the article reports on public perceptions of the necessities of life and understanding of social exclusion. The study found a strong social consensus about what items and activities constitute an acceptable standard of living in Hong Kong. Furthermore, whilst social exclusion was an unfamiliar concept, participants were able identify and explain experiences such as discimination (affecting new arrivals), geographical isolation, a culture of long-working hours and poor access to health services as key elements.