Poverty figures rise slightly

December 13, 2019

The Government announced that the pre-intervention poverty figures in 2018 rose slightly year-on-year, with a poor population of more than 1.4 million people and a poverty rate of 20.4%.


The Hong Kong Poverty Situation Report 2018, released today, showed that recurrent cash policies lifted 382,200 people out of poverty and reduced the poverty rate by 5.5 percentage points last year.


After the Government’s recurrent cash policy intervention, the poverty rate was 14.9%, slightly higher than the level seen in 2017.


It said this is mainly due to the acceleration of population ageing, which offsets the positive impacts of favourable economic and employment conditions and strengthened poverty alleviation efforts.


The Government said the poverty alleviation impact of recurrent cash policies was the most notable since the release of the poverty line in 2013, which reflects the strengthened effectiveness of the enhanced Working Family Allowance and the Old Age Living Allowance.


It added the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and the Old Age Living Allowance had the largest impact on poverty alleviation, lifting 163,000 and 147,100 people out of poverty.


The child poverty situation also improved visibly in 2018 due to the provision of additional subsidies to families with children under the Working Family Allowance.


The Government said it is committed to providing a variety of support to groups in need through different services and subsidies.


It added that the local economy weakened in 2019, which will likely have repercussions on the earnings and employment prospects for the grassroots.


Factors such as population ageing would also continue to put pressure on poverty indicators.


The Government will closely monitor the city’s poverty situation and continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach in poverty alleviation.


Click here for the report.

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