We examined the relationships between individuals’ life satisfaction and individual-, household- and neighbourhood-level characteristics and evidence for cross-level interactions. We used data on individuals’ life satisfaction and a range of individual- and household-level characteristics from the Hong Kong Panel Study of Social Dynamics (2011) with linkage to neighbourhood-level aggregated data extracted from the 2011 census. The neighbourhood-level variables included the poverty rate and four factors derived from factor analysis based on 21 variables. Multilevel models were used to allow for the hierarchical nature of the data. Most of the variance in life satisfaction could be explained by individual- and household-level characteristics. Neighbourhood-level characteristics accounted for a small proportion (around 5% or less) of the variance. Most of the individual- and household-level characteristics studied were associated with life satisfaction. Life satisfaction was negatively associated with local poverty rate and three neighbourhood factors (deprivation, social fragmentation and ageing). There was evidence of cross-level interactions. For example, the level of life satisfaction decreased with an increasing neighbourhood poverty rate among individuals who did not receive Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), but CSSA recipients had a higher level of life satisfaction in areas with higher poverty rates. The negative effect of neighbourhood poverty on life satisfaction was more marked in individuals who rented or owned their homes than in those who lived in public housing. Our results have implications for urban policies that may improve life satisfaction such as financial and housing support for high risk individuals.
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