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Commission on Poverty convenes 25th meeting in its second term
     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, chaired the 25th meeting of the Commission on Poverty in its second term this afternoon (June 19).
     At the meeting, the Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr Leslie Tang, briefed members on the results of the study on household income distribution in Hong Kong in 2016, including the latest Gini Coefficient of Hong Kong. On the back of the steady economic growth and tight labour market in the past five years, as well as the implementation and subsequent upratings of the Statutory Minimum Wage, there were significant improvements in the income situation of grass-roots workers. Analysing the employment incomes of the whole working population by decile groups, a notable cumulative growth of 46.6 per cent was recorded for the first decile group (i.e. the 10 per cent of working population with the lowest employment income), while the growth for the second decile group was 29.6 per cent. Both increases were higher than the 29.2 per cent rise in the overall median.
     Under the effect of population ageing and the increase in households with one person or two persons, the Gini Coefficient based on original monthly household income was 0.539 in 2016, slightly higher than that in 2011 by 0.002. Taking into account taxation and transfer of in-kind social benefits (including education, housing and medical), the Gini Coefficient was 0.473 in 2016, slightly lower than the 0.475 in 2011. In addition, the Gini Coefficient for economically active households was 0.482 in 2016, lower than the 0.489 in 2011.
     Members noted the marked improvements in the employment income of grass-roots workers in the past five years, despite the slight increase in the Gini Coefficient based on original income due to factors including population ageing and the increase in small households. They considered that the Government should continue to promote economic development and employment in order to sustain the wage growth of grass-roots workers, so that they can share the fruits of economic development. Members also noted the effectiveness of the Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) implemented in April 2013 and the increased provision for public healthcare services in recent years in narrowing household income disparity. They expressed the hope that the income disparity will be narrowed further upon full implementation of the Government’s measures for improving retirement protection, which include enhancing the OALA and better meeting the healthcare needs of elderly persons.
Ends/Monday, June 19, 2017
Issued at HKT 19:05
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