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27 Oct 2022

Survey findings on views about emigration from Hong Kong released by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK

27 Oct 2022

The Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) conducted a telephone survey from 29 September to 14 October 2022 to gauge public views on Hong Kong people’s intention of emigrating overseas or moving to mainland China. The main findings are as follows:

The respondents were asked to rate Hong Kong’s liveability on a scale from 0 (very unliveable) to 100 (very liveable), with 50 indicating a neutral attitude. The current average rating from respondents for Hong Kong’s liveability was 56.5. This year’s score is not only significantly higher than that of last year (52.1), but also a second increment after that of 2020.

Of the respondents who were successfully interviewed, 28.4% indicated they would emigrate overseas if they had the chance, which was significantly lower than in 2021 (42.0%), by 13.6 percentage points. Of those who would like to move, 34.0% had prepared to do so (equivalent to 9.2% of the total number of respondents). The percentage of those intending to move who had prepared to do so had not changed significantly from last year, but the percentage of the whole sample who had prepared to move dropped significantly compared to last year.

Of those inclined to go, except for 27.0% who had not yet decided where they would move, the most popular destination was the UK (15.2%), followed by Canada (15.0%), Australia (6.1%) and Taiwan (5.9%).

Aggregated and sorted from the respondents’ open answers, the top four push factors for respondents intending to move were: “excessive political disputes/unstable politics” (16.5%), “collapsing liberty, human rights or freedom of information” (15.0%), “undemocratic political system/waning democracy/no more democratic elections” (13.4%) and “dismal economic situation/overcast economic future” (13.1%). The top four pull factors were: “ample living space” (24.2%), “more liberty/freedom of information” (19.2%), “democratic political systems/checks and balances to the administration” (14.5%) and “all-around education of better quality” (12.3%).

Around three-fifths of the respondents (59.3%) reckoned that the current “tidal emigration” is a loss to the long-term development of Hong Kong, while 15.3% did not see any impact. Only a tenth (11.2%) had a positive outlook.

The survey also asked about respondents’ intention to move to Mainland China. Over a tenth (11.3%) of all respondents said they would like to do so, a similar level as last year (11.6%). Among them, the top four push factors were: “cramped living space” (23.3%), “dismal economic situation/no economic future” (17.5%), “excessive consumer prices” (14.5%) and “high-flying housing prices” (13.4%). The top four pull factors from Mainland China were: “ample living space” (37.0%), “brighter economic prospects” (15.4%), “lower consumer prices” (15.2%) and “affordable housing prices/easier to own a residence” (15.2%).

A total of 705 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with response rates of 23.2% (landline) and 22.8% (mobile). The sampling error is plus or minus 3.69 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.