Hong Kong’s South Asian population is growing fast. It is also the most poverty-stricken among all ethnic minorities in the city.
The poverty rate of South Asians stood at 22.6 percent, based on data from the 2011 Population Census and the Survey on Households with School Children of South Asian Ethnicities, according to the Hong Kong Poverty Situation Report on Ethnic Minorities 2014.
The report was released last Thursday by the Census and Statistics Department, Ming Pao Daily said.
The rate was even higher at 30.8 percent for South Asian families with children.
The study found that the poverty rate among Pakistani families was as high as 50.2 percent. Their median monthly income is only HK$10,600 (US$1,367) while there are 5.4 members in each family on average.
In general, ethnic minorities, which currently number around 192,000, have a poverty rate of 13.9 percent. This means about 26,800 of them are living below the poverty line, which is defined as half the median income for a given household size.
The poverty rate in Hong Kong as a whole is 15.2 percent.
The remarkably high poverty rate among South Asian households suggests that the government must provide more services to ethnic minorities, said Hong Kong Unison, a non-governmental organization focusin on ethnic groups.
A research director at Hong Kong Unison said the study might have underestimated the actual poverty rate among ethnic minorities, noting that many of them come to the city as expatriates and return home after their contracts expire.
Many of those in the minority groups know very little about the financial benefits they are entitled to. So the government should enhance its efforts in promoting them.
The government should also help more children from the minorities to attend school as low education level is one of the key factors behind the group’s high poverty rate.
Child poverty rate rising among Hong Kong’s ethnic minorities (Dec. 14, 2015)
Ethnic minority pupils suffer in post-secondary programs: study (Aug. 11, 2015)
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