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

Maggie K. W. Lau, David Gordon, Mary Zhang, Jonathan Richard Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been growing research interest in child poverty and child well-being in East Asia, however, empirical studies predominantly adopt ‘expert-led’ measures (such as adult-derived child deprivation measures). Parents or guardians are assumed to understand all their children’s needs. The traditional adult-reported child poverty measure assumes that intra-household resources allocation is effectively equal across all members. Studies of child poverty from a child rights and child agency perspective are rare in East Asia. This article aims to examine the extent of agreement between children and adults about which child items and activities constitute the necessities of life in Hong Kong using the consensual deprivation approach. 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 were asked if they considered 16 items and activities as essential for children in contemporary Hong Kong. Adults are significantly more likely to believe that almost all material and social deprivation items are necessities compared with their children, even after controlling for individual-level (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 statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2019

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