Hong Kong’s population decreased over the past 12 months, with 113,200 residents leaving the city between mid-2021 and mid-2022. The figures, published by the Census and Statistics Department, show that the city’s population decreased by 1.6% during this period, the largest decline in 22 years.

The SAR’s resident population dropped from 7,413,100 the previous year to 7,291,600 this year. The report states that the decrease can be attributed to a decline in births, an increase in the number of deaths due to the city’s ageing population, and an outflow of residents.

Over the past year, there has also been a “natural decrease” in the population, by which deaths surpassed births: 35,100 births and 61,600 deaths were recorded during the evaluation period. The report also noted that Hong Kong’s fertility rate is consistently among the lowest in Asian economies, and that the pandemic may have affected the city’s declining birth rate.

Furthermore, the report mentions that the Hong Kong’s population has been on the decline since 2020, the year the Covid-19 pandemic began. However, there were nearly 1.3 times more departures than the number recorded the year before, when 89,200 residents left the city. Authorities cited “stringent border control and quarantine measures” imposed during the past year as contributing factors to the trend.

empty hong kong airport 2021
Empty Hong Kong Airport In 2021 (The HK HUB)

“The flight boarding restrictions imposed on arrivals from certain places from time to time between mid-2021 and mid-2022 due to the then prevailing Covid-19 situation had interrupted population inflow,” said a government spokesperson.

In addition, the report stated that residents who left the city before the pandemic “may have chosen to reside in other places temporarily or were unable to return to Hong Kong”, which might have also contributed to the net outflow of Hong Kong residents.

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However, the government did not have the statistics on emigrating Hongkongers, as “residents travelling abroad are not required to declare to the government their purpose of travel.”

Header image credits: Peter Bakema via Wikimedia Commons

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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