Living Alone in Asia—and why young people in Hong Kong rarely go solo
Ngai-ming Yip and Ray Forrest are working on a paper titled: Choice or Constraint? Exploring solo-living for young households in Hong Kong.

Solo-living among young adults in Hong Kong would seem to be exceptionally low with regard to other affluent cities. This may be driven by a combination of cultural (e.g. familism) as well as economic factors (e.g. high housing costs). More recently, an expanding population of highly educated, young adults (particularly those with overseas education experience), guest workers and returning emigrants at the high end of the labour market combined with delayed marriage and increased divorce have heightened the aspiration and the need for independent living (in some cases facilitated by rich parents). At the same time, population aging has obliged more young adults to stay with their parents to provide care and high housing costs continue to be a significant deterrent for solo-living. This is exacerbated by the unstable income and career prospects of many young adults.

This paper offers new empirical research on the changing dynamics in the formation of single-person households in Hong Kong. It will draw on three different data sources. First, analysis of Census data from 1981 to 2011 will show the social and economic characteristics of single person households and their changing profile over the decades. Second, the way in which cultural, social and economic factors shape the housing choices of the young will be explored via a recent survey conducted by the authors of 1000 young adults aged 18 to 35. Lastly, in-depth interviews with young adults from varied backgrounds will further substantiate our understanding of such dynamics. This paper would aim to shed further light on understanding the impacts of social change on the formation of young single households.

We published a working version of the paper, available here.

Photo by Mitch Altman via Flickr.

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