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HK Magazine Archive

This Is Why Hong Kong's Women Are Fighting for Men

The gender balance is skewed and the city has a growing number of females compared to males.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2016, 1:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:03pm

Hong Kong, we have a gender imbalance on our hands. Ladies, get ready to fight for a man.

Recent figures from Census and Statistics Department (CSD) show that the number of females in Hong Kong significantly exceeds that of males. Hong Kong’s sex ratio—the number of males to 1,000 females—has dropped to 856. That ratio’s harsher in Wan Chai, where there are less than 800 men to 1000 women.

The CSD includes foreign domestic helpers in the count—mostly women—numbering about 300,000 as of last November. Setting aside foreign domestic helpers, the proportion between men and women is somewhat less striking—there are then 923 men for every 1000 women.

The sex ratio hasn’t always been skewed towards females: In 1981, men outnumbered women by numbering just over half of Hong Kong’s population. Twenty years later, the number of Hong Kong’s women outpaced its men. That number is still growing. So, what happened?

Leslie Tang Wai-king, Commissioner of the CSD, says Hong Kong’s women are living a longer life. They’re taking the longevity crown with an average lifespan of around 87 years, while the city’s men average about 78 years.

And there’s another interesting reason, Tang points to: The influx of one-way permit holders from the Chinese mainland adds to the city’s gender imbalance. In 2014, double the amount of women entered Hong Kong with the permit than men. Most of those women entered Hong Kong for cross-border marriages.

A little more than a quarter of the city’s women have never married, and the situation is more pronounced in the commercial heart of the city—about a third of females living in the Central and Western District have yet to walk down the aisle. It is not clear whether more single women are opting to move to these centrally-located areas or if more married women are settling in places further away.

Taking women who are widowed and divorced into consideration, there are around 1.1 million single men left on the market. Yet there are more than 1.5 million single ladies in the city—which means some 100 women will have to fight for 73 men. (And that's statistically speaking—there's no way all of those 73 men are eligible bachelors.)

For women hoping to tie the knot, Wong Tai Sin might be the right place: The percentage of bachelors there is the highest among all of Hong Kong’s districts. But then again, Wong Tai Sin’s median age tops the chart. More than a sixth of the district’s population passes retirement age.