Hong Kong families’ well-being levels fall, with gap between rich and poor narrowing, survey finds

Hong Kong families’ overall well-being levels have continued to fall, with the gap narrowing between rich and poor households, a survey has found.

The survey findings, released by NGO the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society on Wednesday, also showed that households with carers looking after family members scored lower than those without.

The society called for more support to improve the well-being of families, especially those with elderly carers.

It recorded an overall score of 6.06 for its family well-being index this year after it surveyed 2,014 people aged 18 or above and living with family members in January.

The score ranges from zero to 10, with 10 indicating the highest level of family well-being.

The latest score was the lowest compared with two previous surveys, with 6.10 recorded in 2022 and 6.31 in 2019.

Society senior manager Teresa Cheung Wing-shan said 6.06 was on the low side of the average level.

“This year, 42 per cent, or nearly half of the respondents, had an average level of family well-being,” she said.

She attributed the drop to the pressure facing families as they were returning to their normal lives after the years-long coronavirus pandemic.

Cheung noted that although household income had a positive impact on family well-being levels during previous two surveys, this year’s findings indicated that those with higher monthly income recorded a downward trend.

The data showed households with a monthly income between HK$30,000 and HK$39,999 scored 5.95 this year, down from 6.14 in 2022. Those earning between HK$40,000 and HK$59,999 a month scored 6.24, down from 6.33 in 2022.

Cheung said the gap in the well-being level between rich and poor families had narrowed this year compared with the last survey in 2022.

Data showed that groups divided by household income levels scored between 5.73 and 6.51 this year, with a gap of 0.78, which had narrowed from 1.43 in 2022, when the scores ranged from 5.33 to 6.76.

The highest scores in both surveys were recorded among households with a monthly income of no less than HK$100,000.

“Although high-income people scored relatively higher, their family well-being level was actually on a downward trend,” Cheung said, noting such households also faced pressure including caring for children and elderly family members.

An NGO says more support is needed to improve the overall well-being of families. Photo: Jelly Tse

The 26-item survey covered six areas concerning family well-being including family solidarity, resources and health, social connection and resources, and work-life balance.

The findings also showed that households with carers looking after family members who were elderly, sick, disabled or had special needs scored 5.81, compared with 6.24 scored by those without.

Among people who shouldered the caregiving burden alone, about 40 per cent were aged above 60, while 17 per cent were 70 or older, according to the results.

Cheung said her organisation estimated that more than 260,000 elderly carers looked after family members alone and called for greater attention on that group.

Society chief executive Kitty Chau Shuk-king called for more support to improve the overall well-being of families.

She suggested providing healthcare services such as weight and nutrition management to families as a unit to improve their health.

Chau called on the government to provide more ways for families to take part in social affairs, establish community support networks, and build more community facilities and leisure and public spaces to enhance their connection with society.

She also urged authorities to focus on supporting elderly carers who looked after family members alone, including using big data analyses to identify high-risk ones or those not known to community networks.

A dedicated outreach service team should be established to find high-risk ones, she said.



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