Material deprivation and working poor in Hong Kong

Chi Kin CHEUNG, Wai-Sum CHAN, Kee Lee CHOU

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10 Citations (Scopus)


In-work poverty is a growing problem in many developed economies. In Hong Kong, there were 200,700 working poor households in 2016, and approximately half of the total poor population in Hong Kong was living in those working poor households. A growing body of literature has examined the problem of the working poor, but most studies have used relative income as a measure of poverty. In this paper, we adopt the material deprivation approach for assessing the poverty situation of in-work poverty households in Hong Kong. We have interviewed 3565 workers in Hong Kong during a survey conduct in 2016. We compare the results of the material deprivation approach with those of the income poverty approach and evaluate the adequacy of the official income poverty line in gauging the situation of in-work poverty. Our findings reinforce existing studies indicating that deprivation offers an important complement to the income poverty line in poverty analysis. Our results show that there is a moderate overlap between workers identified as poor by the deprivation approach and by the income poverty line. And these two groups of workers have very different profiles. The results provide important policy implications for alleviating poverty among the working poor in Hong Kong. Copyright © 2019 Springer Nature B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-66
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
Early online dateFeb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


Cheung, K. C.-K., Chan, W.-S., & Chou, K.-L. (2019). Material deprivation and working poor in Hong Kong. Social Indicators Research, 145(1), 39-66. doi: 10.1007/s11205-019-02093-0


  • In-work poverty
  • Material deprivation
  • Hong Kong


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