Thirty-five percent had formerly lived in Canada, 24 percent in Australia
or New Zealand, 12 percent in the United Kingdom, and 11 percent in
the United States.
More recently, special runs of the 2001 Census of Hong Kong for
the entire population of 6.4 million have revealed a similar profile of
returnees (DeVoretz et al. 2003). This analysis is also a partial count, as
the census includes Hong Kong residents in 2001, born in Hong Kong,
who were living outside Hong Kong, Macao and China in 1996. The figure
is an undercount not only because many emigrants from Hong Kong
were born in China, but also because only returnees from the period
1996-2001 are caught in the census questions. No doubt too ‘the rather
sensitive nature of the subject’ again encouraged under-reporting.
Nonetheless the data are of great interest with some 86,000 returnees
enumerated, 40 percent of them moving from Canada, and with an equal
share of men and women. The cohort was in a primary career-building
stage. The largest single group of Canadian returnees, 37.5 percent, were
young adults, aged 20-29, with another 21.5 percent aged 30-39. Half
the returnees from Canada had university degrees (70 percent of these
earned overseas) and the same proportion held professional or assistant
professional positions. The elite nature of this returning cohort was
rounded out by earnings levels that were two-thirds higher than the level
of the overall population.