Group-based income inequality in Hong Kong: An analysis of mainland Chinese immigrants

Yee Hang Mathew WONG, Kin-man WAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Despite a notoriously high level of income inequality, public discussion about the issue in Hong Kong has been largely limited to overall trends. This is partially due to a lack of fine-grained data, especially on socially relevant inequality dimensions. This study introduces the group-based inequality data set, which provides indices on inequality within and between groups based on census surveys from 1991 to 2016. Compared with past immigrants, some recent immigrants are highly educated and/or of high socioeconomic status, which has exacerbated inequality within the immigrant groups. This study further examines whether this change in immigrant profile has contributed to the surge in property prices and finds that immigrants also suffer from increasingly unaffordable housing. Overall, the article highlights a seldom-discussed dimension of inequality with reference to social groups that is expected to be a potent source of socioeconomic tension in the future. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-915
JournalJournal of Asian and African Studies
Issue number3
Early online dateSept 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


Wong, M. Y. H., & Wan, K.-M. (2024). Group-Based Income Inequality in Hong Kong: An Analysis of Mainland Chinese Immigrants. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 59(3), 895-915.


  • Income inequality
  • Immigrants
  • Social groups
  • Housing market
  • Hong Kong
  • China


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