Seven out of 10 Hongkongers think the city has become a worse place in which to live, survey says

And two-thirds say the city is not a good place for children to grow up

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 1:30am

Seven out of 10 Hongkongers think the city has become a worse place to live and over 40 per cent say they would leave given the chance, according to a survey released on Monday.

The survey of 1,500 residents, the latest in the Asian Urban Wellbeing Indicators series, was conducted by the policy think tank Civic Exchange from September last year to January this year. It covered a range of issues from housing, education, and medical care to government administration.

Some 66 per cent felt Hong Kong was not a good place for children to grow up, and 61 per cent did not think it was suitable for retirees.

Given the option, 42 per cent said they would opt to leave the city, while 55 per cent would stay.

And 70 per cent said they found Hong Kong had become a worse city to live in, with only 22 per cent saying things had stayed the same.

On average, respondents rated their quality of life at 5.8 out of 10. They did not have high hopes for any improvement over the next five years, with an average score of 5.7 for how they rated their near future.

One-third of respondents said housing should be the government’s top priority over other policies, and more than half said tackling property prices was the most pressing housing issue.

Some 67 per cent of those who selected education as a top priority were unhappy with the quality of learning in schools, with more than half taking issue with the cost of education and a perceived lack of opportunities in junior schools.

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As a result, 80 per cent of them had a strong desire to study overseas, or for their children to do so.

For 239 respondents who commented on quality of government, 75 per cent felt they had little say over government decisions. The government performed poorly in listening to residents’ views, carrying out its decisions and resolving social conflicts, the poll showed.

However, satisfaction with medical care was fairly high, with 74 per cent of 225 respondents saying they were happy with the quality of care they received.

Carine Lai, project manager for Civic Exchange, called for the government to put more effort into understanding the needs of young people as in general those aged 18 to 29 were particularly dissatisfied both with Hong Kong and their own personal lives.

“The survey showed a shift in values between elders and youngsters,” she said. “Young people are the most likely to want to leave Hong Kong. For those who commented on medical care, young people also had the highest level of self-reported mental stress.”