Date
16 January 2017
Hong Kong has 260,000 subdivided flats, some of which have less average living space than a prison cell, according to a survey. Photo: Photo: http://photoblog.hk
Hong Kong has 260,000 subdivided flats, some of which have less average living space than a prison cell, according to a survey. Photo: Photo: http://photoblog.hk

Survey: Subdivided flat residents have less space than prisoners

Hong Kong’s subdivided flats are the new standard of small, but can they get smaller?

In fact they are, according to a survey by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

It shows the average living space per person in a subdivided flat is 47.8 square feet, down nearly 30 percent from a year earlier.  

The survey polled 66 families in subdivided flats in seven districts including Kwun Tong, Sheung Wan and Sham Shui Po during the past six months. 

Apple Daily is reporting that more than 41 percent of household income of these families go to rental costs, higher than the world average.

Those living in bigger subdivided units spend up to 70 percent of their income on rent, up from about 30 percent in 2013, the survey shows.

Hong Kong has 260,000 subdivided flats.

For perspective, a prison inmate has 49.5 sq. ft. of living space against the minimum standard of 75 sq. ft. for public housing in Hong Kong.  

Edward Yiu, an associate professor of geography resource management who led the survey, said the minimum standard for living space in the United States, Japan and Taiwan is higher than that in Hong Kong.

That suggests many people in Hong Kong are inadequately housed and rising rents are worsening the situation, Yiu said.

He criticized the government’s calculation of rent-income ratio based on median numbers, saying it does not reflect actual conditions.

Lai Kin-kwok, convenor of the survey team, called for medium and long-term measures to ease the problem.

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