Poverty rate falls in 2020

November 10, 2021

Hong Kong recorded a poor population of 553,500 people and a poverty rate of 7.9% after taking into account the policy intervention measures, according to the poverty figure in 2020.


The Hong Kong Poverty Situation Report 2020 released by the Government today showed that the poor population and the poverty rate stood at 1,652,500 and 23.6% without considering the policy interventions.


The policy interventions are recurrent cash measures like Comprehensive Social Security Assistance; non-recurrent cash measures such as extra social security payment and cash payout of $10,000; and means-tested in-kind benefits, mainly public rental housing.


The Government pointed out that affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong’s economy experienced a severe recession and the labour market deteriorated sharply last year.


The Government’s total commitment of various relief measures in response to the economic recession and the pandemic amounted to over $300 billion last year, accounting for about 11% of gross domestic product.


The poverty alleviation impact of the policy intervention measures was a record high since the publication of the poverty line in 2013, lifting 1,099,000 people out of poverty and reducing the overall poverty rate by 15.7 percentage points year-on-year.


Recurrent and non-recurrent cash measures combined lifted 937,000 people out of poverty, reducing the poverty rate by 13.4 percentage points.


The Government said that while poverty alleviation might not be the main objective, the countercyclical non-recurrent measures helped effectively alleviate the financial hardship of the grassroots under the pandemic while stabilising the economy.


Regarding the means-tested in-kind benefits, the poverty alleviation impact of public rental housing provision lifted 265,900 people out of poverty in 2020, lowering the poverty rate by 3.8 percentage points.


Noting that the poverty situation outlook hinges on the development of the pandemic across the globe and the pace of economic recovery in Hong Kong, the Government added that if the local community can provide widespread support to the implementation of the vaccination programme and anti-epidemic measures, it will lay a solid foundation for the economy to swiftly return to the right track, bringing relief to the local poverty situation as well.

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