Hong Kong and China in 1997 : the implications for migration of elderly people : opportunities, constraints, or impetus

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In 1997, Hong Kong changes from a British colony to a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. While officially it has been agreed that the status change should not alter the economic or social conditions in the territory substantially, many people believe that residents' lives will be considerably affected. Hong Kong society has always been highly mobile and fluid in terms of migration, and it is only very recently that over half of the population have been born in the tenitory Many elderly people in Hong Kong were bom elsewhere and many Hong Kong families are fragmented, with members living in China, elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, North America, Australia, and Britain. The potential impact of 1997 on the lives and conditions of elderly residents is only now forming a focus of concern. This article considers what may happen in the closing years of this century and early next when the SAR emerges. There is already growing popular belief that, for financial and social reasons, some elderly people are going back to China for their retirement. However, evidence from a survey of 419 noninstitutionalized respondents found relatively few expressing a desire or willingness to retire to China. This article concludes with a discussion of why this may be so. A major reason may be that, with the increasing ease of visits between Hong Kong and China, Hong Kong elderly people might feel more comfortable with alternately living in China and Hong Kong instead of taking the bold decision of permanently living in China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-136
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


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