Poverty of Ethnic Minority Children in Hong Kong

Project: Research project

Project Details


In the past decade, the number of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong has surged by 31.2%, with the total population increasing from 343,950 in 2001 to 451,183 in 2011. There are growing concerns about the social condition of this fast-growing segment of the Hong Kong population. Because of cultural differences and language barriers, ethnic minorities often find themselves in a disadvantaged position in terms of employment and education, and they also share similar problems with other Chinese migrants in assimilating into Hong Kong society. As a result, like other underprivileged groups such as single-parent and immigrant families, ethnic minorities are more vulnerable to poverty when compared with the general population in Hong Kong. Past research shows that poverty not only has profound detrimental effects on children’s development and educational attainment, children growing up in poor ethnic minority households are also likely to have a bleaker economic outlook during adulthood, and have a higher chance of passing poverty on to the next generation. However, we have little knowledge of the child poverty rates in ethnic minority families in Hong Kong, as family characteristics including parental educational level, language proficiency, marital status, and duration of residence in Hong Kong affect the likelihood of child poverty in these families. Although the child poverty rate has remained relatively stable in Hong Kong over the past decade, the trend among ethnic minority families and the factors that contribute to the trend are also largely unknown. In order to formulate effective interventions to help ethnic minority children in poverty and prevent the situation from degenerating into intergenerational poverty, we need to have a comprehensive understanding of the extent of the problem and the characteristics of ethnic minorities who are falling below the poverty level. To achieve this goal, this project will analyze the data from the 2001 and 2011 Population Censuses with the following objectives: 1) assess the child poverty risk of ethnic minorities compared with the Chinese population in Hong Kong; 2) assess the extent to which differences in parental human capital (that is, educational level and proficiency in Cantonese and English) identify patterns of disparity in the poverty status of children from ethnic minority and local families; 3) assess whether and to what extent child poverty varies by the ethnicity status of families according to the parents’ human capital level; 4) assess the emerging trend of child poverty in ethnic minority households and the factors underlying this trend. The result of this project will inform the policy initiatives designed to address the underprivileged group of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong.

Funding Source: HKSAR Govt - Others^
Effective start/end date01/11/1430/10/15


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