Study finds Hong Kongers know their city well, but less about minorities and women

A new study finds that Hongkongers know a lot about the city’s economy, but less about its energy sources

Joanne Ma |

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Hongkongers don’t have a clear idea about the religious or ethnic backgrounds of the city’s population.

Hongkongers are more clued up about their society than residents of other countries and regions, including Thailand and mainland China, according to a new study.

Ipsos’ Perils of Perception study analyses how closely people’s perceptions of their society match up to reality. It focuses on areas such as the economy, climate change, crime, employment, and harassment.

The results from the group’s latest study in 2018 showed that out of 37 countries and regions, Hong Kong had the most accurate perception of its society. Thailand had the least accurate, while the mainland ranked 9th from last.

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A total of 28,115 interviewees aged between 16 and 64 took part in the online survey from late September to mid-October last year. Around 1,000 Hongkongers took part.

According to the report, Hong Kong has an accurate estimation of its economic position in the world. Hong Kong has the 31st largest economy by GDP; the average guess was 30th. The average guess about the percentage of immigrants in Hong Kong was 37 per cent; the actual figure is 39 per cent.

However, Hongkongers were wrong about other aspects of their society.

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On average, Hongkongers guessed that Muslims make up 10 per cent of the city’s population – more than double the actual figure of four per cent.

Meanwhile, the average guess about how much of Hong Kong’s energy comes from renewable sources was 16 per cent; in fact, it just one per cent.

Hongkongers also thought 14 per cent of the city’s working-age population were unemployed, when the actual figure is three per cent.

Every country in the study underestimated the world’s temperature rise over the past 18 years, and most also overestimated the amount of energy that came from renewable sources in their countries.

In the 13 countries where residents were asked about women’s experience of harassment, participants also gave figures that were lower than reality.