Material Deprivation and Working Poor in Hong Kong

  • Kelvin Chi-Kin CheungEmail author
  • Wai-Sum Chan
  • Kee-Lee Chou


In-work poverty is a growing problem in many developed economies. In Hong Kong, there were 200,700 working poor households in 2016, and approximately half of the total poor population in Hong Kong was living in those working poor households. A growing body of literature has examined the problem of the working poor, but most studies have used relative income as a measure of poverty. In this paper, we adopt the material deprivation approach for assessing the poverty situation of in-work poverty households in Hong Kong. We have interviewed 3565 workers in Hong Kong during a survey conduct in 2016. We compare the results of the material deprivation approach with those of the income poverty approach and evaluate the adequacy of the official income poverty line in gauging the situation of in-work poverty. Our findings reinforce existing studies indicating that deprivation offers an important complement to the income poverty line in poverty analysis. Our results show that there is a moderate overlap between workers identified as poor by the deprivation approach and by the income poverty line. And these two groups of workers have very different profiles. The results provide important policy implications for alleviating poverty among the working poor in Hong Kong.


In-work poverty Material deprivation Hong Kong 



This work was funded by the Research Grant Council, General Research Funding Scheme (18401314).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Asian and Policy StudiesThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoChina
  2. 2.Department of FinanceThe Chinese University of Hong KongSha TinHong Kong

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