More than a third of Hongkongers would leave the city if given chance, study says

Top three reasons given for emigration were too much political dispute, overcrowded living conditions and dissatisfaction with political institutions

Nicola Chan |

Latest Articles

Canada was among the three most popular destinations for Hongkongers hoping to move out of the city for different reasons.

One third of Hongkongers would move abroad if given a chance, a survey conducted by Chinese University (CUHK) has revealed. Among those hoping to go and live in another country, 16.2 per cent are already preparing to emigrate, the poll showed.

According to those intending to move (34 per cent), the top three drivers of emigration were “too much political dispute/social cleavage” (25.7 per cent), “overcrowded living conditions” (25.7 per cent), and “dissatisfied with the political institutions” (17.4 per cent).

What’s more, the top three factors drawing them to foreign countries were “ample living space” (35 per cent), “better air quality, less pollution, and beautiful environment” (22.3 per cent), and “more liberty and better conditions for human rights” (15.6 per cent).

Young Hongkongers are willing to move overseas for better career opportunities

The telephone survey on Hongkongers’ views about emigration was conducted by CUHK’s Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies from December 11 to 17 last year. A total of 708 people aged 18 or above took part in the interview.

Among those inclined to emigrate, the three most popular destinations were Canada (18.8 per cent), Australia (18 per cent), and Taiwan (11.3 per cent). Around 24 per cent said they had not decided where they would move.

Meanwhile, respondents who wished to stay revealed the top three factors for remaining in the city. These included the convenience of living (46.9 per cent), a Chinese society/the language the majority speaks/accustomed to life/a friendly society (27.3 per cent), and well-established infrastructure, institutions, and systems (25.9 per cent).

Letters from the Dorm: How being an outsider in London preps me for the real world in HK

The results, which were released last Thursday, showed that younger respondents had a higher tendency to emigrate than the older ones – half of the 18-30 age group wanted to leave but only 21 per cent of those aged 51 and over did.

More respondents with university or higher education qualifications (47.9 per cent) wanted to live abroad, when compared to those with lower levels of education. The survey also asked the participants to rate Hong Kong’s quality of living on a point scale ranging from 0 (very unsuitable) to 100 (very suitable).

The average score given by the respondents was 62.1, a decrease of 1.8 points compared to a similar survey conducted last year.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne