10 October 2019

Survey Findings on Views on Emigration from Hong Kong
Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK



A telephone survey was conducted from 20 to 26 September 2019 by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, to gauge public views on emigration from Hong Kong. Successfully interviewed were 707 respondents aged 18 or above, with a response rate of 37.7%. The sampling error is plus or minus 3.69 percentage points at a confidence level of 95%. 

Major findings are summarised as follows: 

Of the respondents who were successfully interviewed, 42.3% indicated they would emigrate if they had the chance. Compared to a similar survey last year (December 2018), the percentage increased significantly. Of those who would like to move, 23.0% have acted to prepare for the move (equivalent to 9.6% of the total number of respondents). Both percentages increased significantly over those of last year. 

Of those inclined to emigrate, 22.6% have not decided where they would move. The three most popular destinations were Canada (17.5%), Australia (13.8%), and Taiwan (12.1%). 

Aggregated and sorted from open answers of the respondents, the top four push factors for respondents intending to move were “too much political dispute/social cleavage” (27.9%), “no democracy in Hong Kong” (21.5%), “dissatisfaction with Beijing/Beijing is autocratic/no confidence to Beijing” (19.5%), and “overcrowded living conditions” (19.1%). The top four pull factors were “ample living space” (28.8%), “more liberty and better conditions for human rights” (21.0%), and “better air quality, less pollution and beautiful environment” (15.3%), and “political institutions more democratic” (13.5%). Compared with results of similar surveys in the last three years (2016-2018), the top three push factors were all political. Political factors moved up to second place of all pull factors again after similar response was in the rank in 2016 and 2017. 

This survey again asked the respondents to rate Hong Kong’s quality of living on a point scale from 0 (very unsuitable) to 100 (very suitable), 50 indicating “in-between”. The average score for Hong Kong as a livable city rated by the respondents was 54.4, the lowest score in the recent three years, which marked a significant drop from that of last year. 

Only 6.6% of the respondents had foreign right of abode. The percentage of the respondents without this right was 93.4%.

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