POP releases survey on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity (2019-12-17)

Dec 17, 2019
Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute Press Conference – Press Materials

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POP releases survey on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity

Special Announcements

  1. The predecessor of Hong Kong Public Opinion Program (HKPOP) was The Public Opinion Programme at The University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP). “POP” in this release can refer to HKPOP or its predecessor HKUPOP.
  2. POP’s usual practice is to issue releases before the middle and also the end of each year, under the names of “HKSAR anniversary” and “Year-end” survey series for public consumption. Because the handover of Hong Kong occurred on July 1, it may be more appropriate and accurate to analyze macro changes of Hong Kong society using half-yearly rather than yearly figures. The survey results on Hong Kong people’s ethnic identity released today belong to the last of this survey series in 2019.
  3. Tentative release dates of remaining survey topics in 2019 are as follows:
  • December 20 (Friday)            Popularity of CE and SAR Government
  • December 23 (Monday)         Society’s current conditions and Public Sentiment Index
  • December 30 (Monday)         Year-end review
  1. POP began our Macau studies 28 years ago, including regular surveys and election studies, in order to build up progressively a set of scientific opinion polling mechanisms in the region and to provide data for future comparative studies. After 28 years, we hope to let the civil society decide whether our Macau studies should be continued or not. We will use a crowdfunding target of $240,000 to let the general public, especially Macau citizens, make the call. If the target is met, we will quickly conduct a new round of survey, otherwise, we will spend the funds on other POP survey series.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,010 Hong Kong residents by random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in early December. Latest results using independent rating questions that do not involve choosing one among identities show that whether in terms of strength rating, importance rating or identity index, the identity of “Hongkongers” continues to rank first, followed by “Asians”, “global citizens”, “members of the Chinese race”, “Chinese” and “citizens of the PRC”. Among them, only the strength rating of “citizens of the PRC” has increased significantly after the plunge registered last time in mid-June. Still, it has the lowest rating of the six identities. For the other five identities, no significant changes are registered in their respective ratings. If we use a dichotomy of “Hongkonger” versus “Chinese” identity and ask people to make a choice among four identities, namely, “Hongkongers”, “Chinese”, “Chinese in Hong Kong” and “Hongkongers in China”, whether in their narrow and broad senses, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” outnumber those of “Chinese”. Meanwhile, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” in narrow or broad senses both register historical highs since 1997, whereas those for “Chinese” in a broad sense register historical lows since 1997. The effective response rate of the survey is 62.8%. The maximum sampling error of percentages is +/-4% and that of ratings is +/-2.8 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 4-10/12/2019
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,010 (including 503 landline and 507 mobile samples)
Effective response rate[2] : 62.8%
Sampling error[3] : Sampling error of percentages not more than +/-4% and that of ratings not more than +/-2.8 at 95% confidence level
Weighting method : Rim-weighted according to figures provided by the Census and Statistics Department. The gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population came from “Mid-year population for 2018”, while the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution and economic activity status distribution came from “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics (2018 Edition)”.

[1]    This figure is the total sample size of the survey. Some questions may only involve a subsample, the size of which can be found in the tables below.

[2]    Before September 2017, “overall response rate” was used to report surveys’ contact information. Starting from September 2017, “effective response rate” was used. In July 2018, POP further revised the calculation of effective response rate. Thus, the response rates before and after the change cannot be directly compared.

[3]    All error figures in this release are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times with different random samples, we would expect 95 times having the population parameter within the respective error margins calculated. Because of sampling errors, when quoting percentages, journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, whereas one decimal place can be used when quoting rating figures.

Latest Figures

Latest figures on Hong Kong people’s ratings on different identities are tabulated as follows:

Date of survey 4-6/12/17 4-7/6/18 3-6/12/18 17-20/6/19 4-10/12/19 Latest change
Sample size 645-727 564-682 543-607 607-692 596-677
Response rate 61.0% 56.3% 54.6% 58.7% 62.8%
Latest findings[5] Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Hongkongers Strength rating 8.27[5] 8.54[5] 8.34 8.61[5] 8.51+/-0.18 -0.10
Importance rating 7.89[5] 8.30[5] 8.02[5] 8.46[5] 8.42+/-0.18 -0.04
Identity index 78.9[5] 83.0[5] 80.8 84.6[5] 82.6+/-1.9 -2.0
Asians Strength rating 7.88 8.16[5] 8.07 7.69[5] 7.82+/-0.19 +0.13
Importance rating 7.01[5] 6.99 7.05 6.64[5] 6.79+/-0.22 +0.15
Identity index 72.8[5] 74.1 74.1 70.1[5] 70.9+/-2.0 +0.8
Global citizens Strength rating 7.12[5] 6.61[5] 6.86 6.89 7.06+/-0.24 +0.17
Importance rating 6.55 6.30 6.49 6.53 6.63+/-0.25 +0.10
Identity index 66.9 63.5[5] 65.6 66.2 66.7+/-2.2 +0.5
Members of the Chinese race Strength rating 7.08[5] 7.10 6.98 6.27[5] 6.46+/-0.27 +0.19
Importance rating 6.62 6.68 6.67 5.96[5] 5.99+/-0.28 +0.03
Identity index 67.3[5] 68.0 67.3 60.2[5] 60.7+/-2.7 +0.5
Chinese Strength rating 6.89[5] 6.89 6.59 5.87[5] 6.12+/-0.28 +0.26
Importance rating 6.64[5] 6.67 6.19[5] 5.54[5] 5.63+/-0.28 +0.09
Identity index 66.0[5] 66.6 62.4[5] 55.2[5] 57.3+/-2.8 +2.1
Citizens of
the PRC
Strength rating 6.00 5.85 5.91 4.82[5] 5.24+/-0.29 +0.42[5]
Importance rating 5.83[5] 5.68 5.68 4.79[5] 4.99+/-0.29 +0.20
Identity index 58.0[5] 56.3 57.1 46.2[5] 49.6+/-2.8 +3.4

[4]    “Identity index” is calculated for each respondent by taking the geometric mean of the strength and importance ratings and then multiplied by 10. If either the strength or importance rating of a respondent is missing, it is substituted by the sample mean.

[5]    The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level, meaning that the change is statistically significant prima facie. However, whether the difference is statistically significant is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful, and different weighting methods could have been applied in different surveys.

Results of independent rating questions that do not involve choosing one among identities show that whether in terms of strength rating, importance rating or identity index, the identity of “Hongkongers” continues to rank first, followed by “Asians”, “global citizens”, “members of the Chinese race”, “Chinese” and “citizens of the PRC”. The strength ratings are 8.51, 7.82, 7.06, 6.46, 6.12 and 5.24 respectively, while the importance ratings are 8.42, 6.79, 6.63, 5.99, 5.63 and 4.99 respectively. Taking the geometric mean of the strength and importance ratings of each respondent and then multiply it by 10, we have an “identity index” between 0 and 100, with 0 meaning no feeling and 100 meaning extremely strong feeling. The latest figures are 82.6, 70.9, 66.7, 60.7, 57.3 and 49.6 respectively. Among the figures mentioned above, only the strength rating of “citizens of the PRC” has increased significantly after the plunge registered last time in mid-June. Still, it has the lowest rating of the six identities. For the other five identities, no significant changes are registered in their respective ratings.

As for the results from the survey mode used for long on Hong Kong people’s sense of ethnic identity, latest figures are tabulated as follows:

Date of survey 4-6/12/17 4-7/6/18 3-6/12/18 17-20/6/19 4-10/12/19 Latest change
Sample size 633 614 585 643 577
Response rate 61.0% 56.3% 54.6% 58.7% 62.8%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
Identified as “Hongkongers” 39% 41% 40% 53%[6] 55+/-4% +3%
Identified as “Chinese” 14%[6] 18%[6] 15% 11%[6] 11+/-3%
Identified with a mixed identity of “Hongkongers” and “Chinese” 45%[6] 39%[6] 43% 36%[6] 32+/-4% -3%
Identified as “Hongkongers”
in broad sense
68%[6] 67% 66% 76%[6] 78+/-3% +1%
Identified as “Chinese”
in broad sense
31% 30% 32% 23%[6] 21+/-3% -2%

[6]    The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level, meaning that the change is statistically significant prima facie. However, whether the difference is statistically significant is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful, and different weighting methods could have been applied in different surveys.

If we use a dichotomy of “Hongkonger” versus “Chinese” identity and ask people to make a choice among four identities, namely, “Hongkongers”, “Chinese”, “Chinese in Hong Kong” and “Hongkongers in China”, 55% identified themselves as “Hongkongers”, 11% as “Chinese”, 10% as “Chinese in Hong Kong” and 22% as “Hongkongers in China”. In other words, 78% identified themselves as “Hongkongers” in a broad sense (i.e. either as “Hongkongers” or “Hongkongers in China”), 21% identified themselves as “Chinese” in a broad sense (i.e. either as “Chinese” or “Chinese in Hong Kong”), while 32% chose a mixed identity of “Hongkongers” and “Chinese” (i.e. either as “Chinese in Hong Kong” or “Hongkongers in China”). Whether in their narrow and broad senses, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” outnumber those of “Chinese”. Meanwhile, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” in narrow or broad senses both register historical highs since 1997, whereas those for “Chinese” in a broad sense register historical lows since 1997.

Opinion Daily

In 2007, POP started collaborating with Wisers Information Limited whereby Wisers supplies to POP a record of significant events of that day according to the research method designed by POP. These daily entries would then become “Opinion Daily” after they are verified by POP.

For the polling items covered in this press release, the previous survey was conducted from 17 to 20 June, 2019 while this survey was conducted from 4 to 10 December, 2019. During this period, herewith the significant events selected from counting newspaper headlines and commentaries on a daily basis and covered by at least 25% of the local newspaper articles. Readers can make their own judgment if these significant events have any impacts to different polling figures.

8/12/19 The Civil Human Rights Front announces that around eight hundred thousand people participated in the International Human Rights Day protest.
1/12/19 Protesters march along Tsim Sha Tsui.
29/11/19 The police end its siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
28/11/19 US President Donald Trump signs the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
25/11/19 The pro-democracy camp wins a majority of seats in the District Councils.
20/11/19 The US Senate passes the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
19/11/19 The police continue to surround the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
19/11/19 The anti-mask law is ruled to be unconstitutional.
18/11/19 The police continue to surround the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
17/11/19 The police surround the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and clash violently with protesters.
16/11/19 The People’s Liberation Army clears roadblocks.
15/11/19 Protesters stay in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
14/11/19 Xi Jinping expresses his views on Hong Kong.
12/11/19 Violent conflicts between protestors and the police occur in the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
11/11/19 A traffic policeman fires three live rounds at a protester.
10/11/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in multiple districts in Hong Kong.
8/11/19 HKUST student who fell from height in Tseung Kwan O passes away.
1/10/19 The People’s Republic of China celebrates its 70th anniversary.
1/10/19 Protests and conflicts between protestors and the police occur in multiple districts in Hong Kong, the police shoots a protester with a live bullet in Tsuen Wan.

Data Analysis

Latest results using independent rating questions that do not involve choosing one among identities show that whether in terms of strength rating, importance rating or identity index, the identity of “Hongkongers” continues to rank first, followed by “Asians”, “global citizens”, “members of the Chinese race”, “Chinese” and “citizens of the PRC”. Among them, only the strength rating of “citizens of the PRC” has increased significantly after the plunge registered last time in mid-June. Still, it has the lowest rating of the six identities. For the other five identities, no significant changes are registered in their respective ratings.

If we use a dichotomy of “Hongkonger” versus “Chinese” identity and ask people to make a choice among four identities, namely, “Hongkongers”, “Chinese”, “Chinese in Hong Kong” and “Hongkongers in China”, whether in their narrow and broad senses, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” outnumber those of “Chinese”. Meanwhile, the proportions of people identifying themselves as “Hongkongers” in narrow or broad senses both register historical highs since 1997, whereas those for “Chinese” in a broad sense register historical lows since 1997.

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