Children’s and Adults’ perceptions of child necessities in Hong Kong

Maggie K. W. LAU, David GORDON, Mary F. ZHANG, Jonathan BRADSHAW

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing interest in child poverty and well‐being in East Asia. However, empirical studies predominantly adopt “expert‐led” measures (such as adult‐derived child deprivation measures), which usually assume that parents or guardians provide reliable reports about all their children's needs and that the allocation of household resources is effectively equal across all members. Studies of child poverty from a child‐rights or child‐agency perspective are rare in East Asia. Using a consensual deprivation approach, this article examines the extent of agreement between children and adults about which child possessions and activities constitute necessities of life in Hong Kong. The data are drawn from the second wave of the Strategic Public Policy Research project—Trends and Implications of Poverty and Social Disadvantages in Hong Kong: A Multi‐disciplinary and Longitudinal Study. A total of 595 adults and 636 school‐aged children from the first wave of the study were reinterviewed and asked if they considered 16 possessions and activities as essential for children in contemporary Hong Kong. The results showed that adults were significantly more likely to believe that almost all material and social deprivation items were necessities compared with their children, even after controlling for individual‐level factors (i.e., gender and birthplace) and household‐level factors (i.e., number of children in the household, number of working adults, and household income). The findings highlight the importance of incorporating children's views into our understanding of child poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-853
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Issue number6
Early online date20 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Poverty and social disadvantage in Hong Kong

The work described in this article was fully supported by the Strategic Public Policy Research Funding Scheme of the Policy Innovation and Co‐ordination Office (formerly Central Policy Unit) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project 4003‐SPPR‐11). It draws on the work of a previous Poverty and Social Exclusion in Hong Kong (PSEHK) project funded by the Research Grants Council and the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC/RGC Joint Research Scheme RES‐000‐22‐4400).


  • poverty
  • consensual deprivation
  • child necessities
  • socially perceived necessities
  • Hong Kong


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