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Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn? - page 13 / 33





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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.

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