Date
21 January 2017
Dr. Kelvin Cheung (inset) says ethnic minority children are often at a disadvantage in terms of education and employment due to language and cultural barriers. Photos: Ducky Tse Chi-tak, HKIED
Dr. Kelvin Cheung (inset) says ethnic minority children are often at a disadvantage in terms of education and employment due to language and cultural barriers. Photos: Ducky Tse Chi-tak, HKIED

Child poverty rate rising among Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities

More ethnic minority children in Hong Kong fell into poverty in the 10 years to 2011, according to a study.

Most were Nepalese and Pakistanis, who showed the highest increase in child poverty rate at 14.1 percentage points and 10.5 percentage points, respectively, the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd) said.

There were about 12,500 Nepalese and 11,000 Pakistanis in Hong Kong in 2001.

In 2011, the number rose to 16,500 and 18,000, respectively, according to a population census.

Among South Asians, Pakistanis had the highest poverty rate in 2001 (49.1 percent) and 2011 (59.6 percent). 

Nepalese saw a surge in poverty rate between 2001 (9.1 percent) and 2011 (23.2 percent).

The United Nations defines child poverty as a condition in which children are deprived of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, as well as education and other opportunities. 

HKIEd uses the government’s poverty threshold, which is 50 percent of median monthly household income before tax and welfare transfers for a given household size.

In 2011, the median monthly household income was HK$20,500, putting the poverty line at HK$10,250.

Dr. Kelvin Cheung, an assistant professor of Asian and policy studies in HKIEd and principal investigator for the research, said ethnic minorities in Hong Kong grew 31.2 percent between 2001 and 2011.

They are often at a disadvantage in terms of education and employment due to language and cultural barriers, he said.

Cheung said children who grow up in these families are more likely to end up in poverty, adding they need greater attention.

The result of the study suggests the poverty risk among ethnic minorities is closely associated with cultural and social integration, he said.

Cheung said the government should investigate the specific problems encountered by ethnic groups in order to come up with poverty reduction measures.

– Contact us at [email protected]

DY/JP/RA

Ethnic minority children typically struggle with homework, according to a study. Photos: Ducky Tse Chi-tak


EJI Weekly Newsletter