ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

One in five are living in poverty in Hong Kong

Residents below the official poverty line hit 1.4 million in 2017.

Bloomberg reports that the number of people living below the official poverty line in Hong Kong or those earning less than $4,000 (US$5,11) a month has risen to 1.4 million by end-2017 in a strong testament to the growing inequality in one of the world’s richest cities. 

High poverty levels persist in the city of 7.4 million despite heightened expenditure on social welfare which in 2018 is nearly twice the level in 2009, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung told Bloomberg. In fact, poverty rate actually stands at 20.1% once recurring government cash handouts are removed.

Also read: The rich get richer: Hong Kong's affluent gap widens

The government blames changing households sizes and the methodology used to calculate the headline number for the worsening statistics as the data only includes income, not assets, and doesn’t take into consideration subsidies for after-school care and elderly care, public housing support.

"I don’t think our policy has failed at all," Cheung said at a press conference. "But we’ve got to follow the international norm, that’s why all these are not reflected in the figures at all."

Also read: Home Ownership Scheme 2018 oversubscribed as citizens scramble for affordable housing

In a tale of two cities, Hong Kong has dislodged New York as the city with the largest population of high-net worth individuals (those with net worth of over $30m) in 2017 at 10,010, data from Wealth-X show.

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

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