Hong Kong's poor live in homes smaller than prison cells – study

The average living space for per person in the city is just 50 sq ft, the equivalent of just half a parking space

i: Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive housing market Photograph: Benny Lam

Poor residents in Hong Kong have less living space than prisoners in the city’s maximum security jails, according to a new study.

The average living space per person was just 50 sq ft (4.6 sq metres), the equivalent of just half a parking space, a survey of 204 families in one neighborhood by a local residents association found.

That figure is the same as prisoners in local jails, and less than the 75 sq ft of space allocated to inmates in maximum security facilities.

Despite being one of the wealthiest cities in the world and having a government flush with more than £100bn in fiscal reserves, Hong Kong remains a deeply unequal society.

It is the world’s most expensive housing market and an average resident would need to save more than 18 years of pre-tax salary, spending that money on nothing else, in order to afford a home.

Prices have skyrocketed in recent years, fuelled by mainland Chinese investments in the property market and a government unwilling to take on powerful developers.

About 200,000 people were living in subdivided flats, according to a 2016 government report, with over 65% of families living in units that ranged between 75 and 140 sq ft (7 to 13 sq metres).

These homes range from illegally built rooftop shacks to windowless rooms in what was once an already cramped two bedroom apartment. While Hong Kong’s infamous “coffin homes” garner more attention, subdivided flats are the reality for far more families.

Liu Cheung-wai has lived with his wife and nine-year-old daughter in a two room shack built among a labyrinth of structures on a building rooftop. The builder moved from China five years ago with his family in search of better education for his daughter and higher wages.

“This is all we can afford, many newcomers live in places like this at first,” Liu said. “But I didn’t think we would still be here after so many years.”

The family of three shares a space that’s roughly 170 sq ft, just over the average in the studies findings, although their house was not part of the study.

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Comments (2)
No. 1-2

I am not happy to see such thing


Not really good for them