Child poverty in Hong Kong single-parent families


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Over the past few decades, the number of single-parent families in Hong Kong has increased substantially. Single-parent families consistently account for the second-largest number of social security claims, after the elderly. It is well established that children who grow up in single-parent families are more vulnerable to poverty and development problems compared to their counterparts in married households. To assess the child poverty risk for single-parent families and its policy implications, this paper analyzes Census data from the period 1981–2011 to gauge the trend in child poverty and its contributory factors. The results show that the poverty gap between single-parent and married-couple families has widened in the past 30 years. The main reason for this is that the risk factors affecting married-couple families, including parental education and labor market participation, are more effective in reducing their poverty level than the poverty level of single-parent families. Moreover, the changes in social context over the past three decades have also been more favorable to married couples as their family characteristics make them more adaptable to the economic restructuring in Hong Kong. These results suggest that the government’s belief in the trickle-down effect for poverty reduction may not apply to single-parent families, who may find themselves even worse off despite the overall economic growth. Copyright © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-536
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number3
Early online dateJul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Cheung, K. C.-K. (2015). Child poverty in Hong Kong single-parent families. Child Indicators Research, 8(3), 517-536.


  • Child poverty
  • Single-parent
  • Trend
  • Hong Kong
  • Chinese


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