11 October 2016

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 23 to 27 September 2016 by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong to gauge public views on emigration from Hong Kong. 710 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 38.5%. The sampling error is + or – 3.68 percentage points at a confidence level of 95%. 

Major findings are summarized as follows: 

Around two-fifths (38.9%) of respondents indicated they would emigrate to other places if they got the chance. However, only a tenth (10.9%) of those respondents were taking actions to make preparation (equivalent to only 4.2% of the total number of respondents). A further analysis to break down the tendency of emigration by age group or level of education indicated that younger people (e.g. aged 18-30: 57.0%) had a higher tendency to emigrate compared to the older people (e.g. aged 51 and above: 26.0%).  Moreover, more people with college or above education (53.8%) indicated their intention to emigrate in contrast to the number of people of other levels of education. Among those inclined to emigrate, about one in five (19.2%) hadn’t decided where to move. The most preferred destinations, ranked by popularity, were Taiwan (16.3%), Australia (15.2%), and Canada (13.8%). 

Top pushing factors for emigration among those inclined to move were “dissatisfaction with SAR government / government performance / Chief Executive / high-ranking government officials” (11.0%), “overcrowded living conditions” (10.5%), “too much political dispute / social cleavage” (10.3%), and “slow economic growth or bad economic prospect” (10.3%). Top pulling factors included “ample living space” (18.8%), “more democratic or liberal” (15.8%), “to meet up with family members, relatives or friends living overseas” (8.4%), and “enjoyable life” (8.2%). 

Respondents were also asked about their sense of belonging to Hong Kong. Though 42.8% of all respondents had a strong or very strong sense of belonging, 40.1% replied that it was average. When they were asked about their satisfaction with various aspects of life in Hong Kong, the fewest respondents were satisfied with political environment (7.1%), followed by educational system (16.2%), living conditions (18.2%), economic prospects (18.5%), and social welfare (30.3%).

Among all the respondents, about 11.7% had experiences of living abroad for six months or longer. 6.5% of respondents had foreign rights of abode and 30.8% had family members or relatives now living abroad. Three in five respondents (59.7%) would decline to relocate to emerging market countries if they had just started to develop their career.