Seeing Wah Fu’s Life through the Residents

The Changing Demography of Wah Fu

When Wah Fu Estate was first established, it was planned to provide housing for about 50,000 population. Those who moved in to Wah Fu Estate during the early days were mostly Chinese population living elsewhere in Hong Kong. While packed subdivided tenement buildings and squatter houses were typical living conditions at the time, these people, often with large family size, opted for moving in to seek a better living environment.

With better living conditions provided, Wah Fu Estate targeted the relatively higher income group of tenants at that time. While the rent in the Estate was at $135 per month for a 400 square-feet flat in 1968,[1] the smaller flats targeted the household with a monthly salary of HK$400-900 while the bigger ones targeted those who earned HK$900-1500.[2] It was considered a privilege to be able to afford living in Wah Fu Estate at that time.

These new residents living in the early days of Wah Fu Estate were usually in large family size of 8-12: a young couple usually had about 4-6 children, plus the two live-in grandparents and / or other relatives. There were a lot more young children population in the Estate in the 1970s and 1980s compared to nowadays. 

The demography of Wah Fu is changing.

While the population in Wah Fu Estate peaked at about 52,000 in 1980, its current population has dropped to about 27,000 according to the latest census in 2016.[3] The decrease in population probably is because of the decreasing size of households. The children of the large-size families have grown up and moved out of the flat, leaving the elderly parents to continue to live in the current flat. The current average household size in Wah Fu Estate is 2.88. About 19% of the population in Wah Fu Estate in 2016 is at or over the age of 65, while only about 5% is children under age of 10.

There is also a change in the economic standing of the residents. While Hong Kong’s median monthly domestic household income in 2016 is HKD $25,000, Wah Fu Estate residents median monthly domestic household income falls below that, at $20,170. They are now mostly engaged with clerical support, service and sales, and agricultural and fishery works.

While the population in Wah Fu Estate continues to be largely Chinese, there is an increase in other ethnic populations. In 2016, about 4% of the Estate’s population is ethnic minority, including White, Filipino, Indonesians, and others.

The changing profile of the residents, and the different period(s) they live in Wah Fu Estate, provide diverse views and understandings of people’s life here. In this session, five groups of residents share their everyday stories of living in Wah Fu Estate, their living conditions, and their feelings towards this Estate. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lau Kwok Fai moved in to Wah Fu Estate as a young couple in 1971, and have raised their five children here. Alice Kan used to live nearby to Wah Fu Estate area before it was built. Her family was requested to move when the government developed the area into Wah Fu Estate. Hence they moved in to it after its construction. Alice has lots of memories about the area when it was less developed in the early days. Kwan Yeah grew up in Wah Fu Estate, and had childhood encounters and memories about living in this Estate to share. Ms. Ho Bik Han used to live in another public housing estate in Hong Kong, and moved to Wah Fu Estate in the 1990s since her original estate was to be redeveloped. Mr. Wu Tsz Chor is a relatively new resident in Wah Fu Estate. As a single-parent, he moved here with his daughter in 2012.

[1] 袁志敏、古晨燕:〈華富邨黃昏依舊美〉,《通通識》,2016 4 25 日,頁8至9

[2] Kung Sheung Daily News, 13 February 1963.

[3] Census and Statistics Department (2017). 2016 Population By-census. Available at: