Conference on Social Inequality and Social Mobility in Hong Kong Poverty social inclusion of elderly in Hong Kon - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Conference on Social Inequality and Social Mobility in Hong Kong Poverty social inclusion of elderly in Hong Kon

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Conference on Social Inequality and Social Mobility in Hong Kong Poverty social inclusion of elderly in Hong Kon
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Conference on Social Inequality and Social Mobility in Hong Kong Poverty social inclusion of elderly in Hong Kon

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    1. 1 Conference on Social Inequality and Social Mobility in Hong Kong Poverty & social inclusion of elderly in Hong Kong Ernest Chui PhD, EdD(Bristol) Associate Professor Department of Social Work and Social dministration The University of Hong Kong

    2. prosperous HK, but Hong Kong is prosperous by world standard: per capita GDP (US$27,679) is 27th in the World, 4th in Asia (after Australia, Japan and Singapore, as at June 2006) (C&SD 2007, IMF 2007) but there is considerable extent of poverty conceived in the absolute and relative senses 2

    3. Poverty in Hong Kong Gini Coefficient: a measure to capture income discrepancy in working population and thus reflecting relative poverty in society has been increasing over the years: 0.43 (1971) 0.45 (1981) 0.476 (1991) 0.525 (2001) 0.533 (2006) 3

    4. Social exclusion conceptualized the dynamic process of being shut out, fully or partially, from any of the social, economic, political or cultural systems which determine the social integration of a person in society. Social exclusion may, therefore, be seen as the denial (or non-realization) of the civil, political and social rights of citizenship (Walker & Walker, 1997:8) 4

    5. Social exclusion conceptualized (2) a multi-dimensional process, in which various forms of exclusion are combined: participation in decision making and political processes, access to employment and material resources, and integration into common cultural processes. When combined, they create acute forms of exclusion that find a spatial manifestation in particular neighborhoods (Madanipour et al., 1998:22; cited in Byrne, 1999:2). 5

    6. Social exclusion conceptualized (3) Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, University of Bristol: 4 aspects of exclusion (Patsios, 2000): exclusion from having adequate income exclusion from labour market exclusion from service consumption exclusion from social relations 6

    7. The lack of examining social exclusion in local studies on poverty 7 most local researchers adopt either the relative poverty approach or income proxy approach in conceptualizing or measuring the magnitude of poverty, e.g. Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) Growing Seriousness in Poverty and Income Disparity study (2004) used 50% median income as benchmark: ?trend in overall poverty rate: 11.2% (1991) ? 18.0% (2002) ?trend in elderly poverty rate: 24.8% (1991) ? 32.6% (2002)

    8. Local poverty studies (2) City University of Hong Kong Study of Hong Kong Poverty Line (Wong & Li 2002) used the income proxy approach by defining the poverty line with the inflection point of the Engel curve: set poverty line at $3,750 per person in 2002 with reference to C&SD Household Expenditure Survey (1999/2000), estimated 449,000 households with expense per head <poverty line = 28% of the total households 8

    9. Ageing population proportion of elderly people in the population aged 65+ (1986) 7.6% (2006) 12.4% (853,000) aged (60+) 16.2% elderly dependency ratio (C&SD 2007): 124 (1991) 168 (2006) 428 (2030) 9

    10. Exclusion from adequate income C&SD 2004: 73% of 901,000 elderly who had stable monthly income (from various sources, including family members, work, etc.) had < half of median monthly income of the general population ($10,000) vs. median for the elderly population $3,000 2006 by-census: 57,500 working elders (excluding unpaid family workers) median income $6,500 vs. $10,000 of overall working population and 41% of working elders had monthly income <$6,000 (C&SD 2008) HKCSS & Oxfam (1996): 87.5 % of 16,000 singletons living in abject poverty were aged 60+ 10

    11. Exclusion from adequate income (2) HKCSS Social Development Index study (2000) ?% of elderly people living in low-income households: 22.4% (1981) 24.8% (1991) 25.9% (1996) 33.7% (1998) Gini coefficient of households with a head of household aged 65+ has increased: 0.508 (1996) ? 0.515 (2001) ? 0.526 (2006) (HKCSS 2006) Chui, Ko & Chong 2005: 219,000 households with at least one household member aged 60+ are poor elderly households, total number of elderly persons living in poverty ~289,600 11

    12. Exclusion from employment ?job opportunities for elders due to economic restructuring ? high unemployment amongst elderly people labor force participation for people aged 65+ has remained low: 9.8% (1996) ? 7% (2006) (C&SD 2008) 12

    13. Lack of viable retirement protection MPF only set up in 2000 ? cannot serve the present cohort of elders who have already reached 60 low contributory rate (5% of monthly income) + short duration of contributions ? low protection: 45% of the elderly population will live below subsistence level in 2020 (Law 1997) ? elderly are worried about insufficient retirement protection (Lingnan College 1997) 2001 C&SD Special Topic Report No27: 83.3% of the elderly people had no form of pensions or retirement protection 69.9% made no arrangements for future financial needs 13

    14. Reliance on welfare since 1990s ? in both absolute number and the percentage of elderly population receiving CSSA 2007: 187,000 elderly persons living on CSSA (SWD 2007) = 16.3% of the aged (60 or more) population 71,500 elderly people aged 65+ (8.2%) relied on means-tested normal Old Age Allowance as major source of income 14

    15. 15

    16. inadequate income ? reliance on public housing 2006: 407,000 elderly (aged 60+) living in Public Rental Housing (PRH) = 20.4% of the total 1,996,000 PRH tenants, or 38% of HK total elderly population 58,800 singleton tenants = 46.5% of Hong Kongs 126,600 singleton elderly population 37,500 non-singleton elderly households residing in PRH = 76,000 elderly people who were largely elderly couples living on their own ~7,900 elderly applicants on waiting list 16

    17. Poor living condition in private housing in old urban districts low elderly home ownership rate 17% (as at 2001; C&SD 2004) vs. 53% of general public (Ramesh 2004) those who cannot afford to own private housing have to rent rooms, bed-spaces or cocklofts in private tenements in old urban areas ? poor living conditions Commission on Poverty (2006) 2.8% (~30,000) of the elderly population lived in private temporary housing or private shared units i.e. deprived of independent & private living space 17

    18. Spatial exclusion resulted from urban renewal and gentrification urban renewal of old urban districts ? gentrification ? physical & social dislocation elders are physically, psychologically and socially bound by the locality in which they live and they derive their sense of familiarity and security from it if elders are deprived of environmental resources ? misfit and strain ?jeopardize their perceived and exerted independence ? threaten their sense of security: physical safety and peace of mind local studies have vividly portrayed these problems e.g. Wanchai District Board 1999; HKYWCA 1998; SoCO 2002) 18

    19. Poverty & deteriorating health aggravating social exclusion 2006: average life expectancy 85.1 years poor general health (both physical and mental) ~106,700 elderly had various degrees of cognitive impairment, especially serious amongst the 75+ group (C&SD 2001) high incidence of chronic illness: 72% have =/>1 chronic diseases (including 56% hypertension, 35% rheumatism, 42% frequent medical consultations (C&SD 2004) 64,000 elderly people had difficulty in activities of daily living (C&SD 2004) ? ? social participation ? exclusion 19

    20. Normative exclusion and ageism in capitalistic, materialistic HK, people in general have put slanted emphasis on immediate economic rewards ? elders are perceived to be economically unproductive (Phillipson 1982) Changing family structure & function ? less respect & care to elders in family ? less attend to the needs of the older generation gradual ? ageism i.e. attitude that despises older people 20

    21. Self disempowerment & exclusion of elders a vicious cycle of self-denial and disempowerment in elders ? depression, withdrawal or even self-destructive inclination e.g. depression particularly prevalent among institutionalized elderly people: 38% (Hospital Authority, 2005) high elderly suicide rate: (1981-95) 31.1 and (2006) 28.2 per 100,000 (age 60+), 53.0 (age 75+) (Chi, Yip and Yu, 1998) vs. 12.1 for the overall population (HKCSS 2007) 21

    22. recommendations The government may consider tapping upon the substantial financial reserves to finance some immediate measures ? to provide the material base for enabling the elders to enjoy social inclusion by the community at large This can avoid resorting to a radical revision of the low tax system and thus preserving a favorable business environment These stop gap measures are expected to be temporary as the future cohort of elders are better prepared in having gradually maturing existing / upcoming contributory schemes, and are having growing awareness of better preparation for retirement 22

    23. Careful gentrification Promotion respect for the elderly Service to improve health condition of elderly people

    24. Acknowledgement: The paper is based partly on Poverty and social exclusion of elderly in Hong Kong (2007) (HKU7407/06H) funded by the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong and on a consultancy project. I acknowledge with thanks the client's permission to cite from the report of the consultancy study 24