Toward One Country, Two Peoples? Inter-Marriage and Social Distance in Hong Kong, 1991 - 2011

David Post, Pennsylvania State University
Suet-ling Pong, Pennsylvania State University
Dongshu Ou, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

After Hong Kong's 1997 Handover, there were expectations of decreased social distance among Chinese coethnics who had become compatriots. Sixteen years on, what is the imagined and manifest relation between Mainlanders and Hong Kong's natives? As the summary indicator of social distance, we focus on marital exogamy by nativity. By contrast with findings by immigration scholars in other nations, in HK there is evidence of increasing, rather than decreasing, social distance. From 1991 to 2011 (the most recent census), we found decreasing likelihoods for Hong Kong natives and Mainlanders under age 50 to be married to one another. Even after controlling for education levels and for the spoken language (Cantonese versus Mandarin), we find an increasing propensity for endogamous marriage, within each nativity group. Consequently, more Hong Kong children will be raised by parents who are either from the Mainland, or from Hong Kong, but are not mixed.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 28: Remittances and Consequences of Migration