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Hong Kong's Struggle With Inequality In 8 Charts

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發表於 2014-10-9 09:50:58 | 顯示全部樓層 |閱讀模式
10/08/2014 @ 2:05PM Forbesby Liyan Chen

Beyond The Umbrella Revolution: Hong Kong's Struggle With Inequality In 8 Charts



The Umbrella Revolution may be winding down, but the underlying economic tensions are not going away anytime soon.

While the world has focused on Hong Kong’s demand for democracy and universal suffrage, the protests highlight the widening economic divide for the city of 7 million residents in recent years. We have yet to see how the political impasse unfolds, as student leaders and the government are expected to start formal talks on Friday. But from increasing income disparity to lofty housing prices, the city is facing various economic challenges as pressing as the political ones.


1. Rising Income Inequality
Hong Kong’s Gini coefficient — a measure of income disparity based on original household income — rose to record high in recent years. The latest census data from Census and Statistics Department shows that the city’s Gini coefficient reached 0.537 in 2011, up 25% from 0.43 in 1971. It is catching up to mainland China, which has a Gini coefficient at about 0.55, according to researchers at University of Michigan.




2. Lofty Home Prices
Hong Kong now has one of the highest housing prices among the world’s financial hubs. According to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, the median housing price was $4,024,000, almost ten time higher than that in New York ($405,400) in 2013. The ratio of median home prices divided by median household income has reached 14.9, more than three times more than that in Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities in the world. As housing prices continue to soar, many Hong Kong residents blamed it on the influx of cash-rich mainland Chinese buyers.


3. Lower Quality of Life
The quality of life in Hong Kong has declined significantly since 2007, according to an index compiled by Chinese University of Hong Kong. Among the 21 indicators which ranges from air quality to life expectancy, the sub-index for 7 economic indicators registered the lowest score since 2002. In addition to the big drop in housing affordability ratio, the real rent index has also worsened significantly over the years.





4. The Top 1% Getting Richer
While 1.3 million of Hong Kong residents live under poverty line, the top 1% of the population is getting richer and richer. The city had a record number of 45 billionaires with a combined net worth of $214 billion on Forbes 2014 Billionaire List. That’s almost 80% of Hong Kong’s GDP value in 2013, according to the World Bank.





5. Increasing Reliance On China’s Economy
Since Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region under China in 1997, the city has taken various measures to strengthen its economic ties with mainland China, especially in trade partnership. The world’s second-largest economy absorbed goods worth of HK$24.8 billion (US$3.2 billion) exported from Hong Kong in 2013. The city is now mainland China’s second largest trade partner after the U.S., while mainland China has been Hong Kong’s biggest trading partner since 1985, according to government data.







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