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Hong Kong population declines for second straight year under virus containment

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

FILE - Workers wearing protective gear direct arriving passengers to quarantine hotels in the Hong Kong International Airport, Friday, April 1, 2022. Hong Kong's government says its population has shrunk for a second year as anti-virus controls hampered the inflow of new workers and births declined, but it made no mention of an exodus of residents following a crackdown on a pro-democracy movement.
File - Workers in protective clothing quarantine arriving passengers at Hong Kong International Airport on Friday. Directed to the hotel, April 1, 2022. The Hong Kong government has said the population has fallen for his second year in a row as anti-virus restrictions hampered the influx of new workers and reduced births. democracy movement. Photo by Kin Cheung /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

HONG KONG (AP) — The Hong Kong government says its The population has shrunk for the second year in a row as anti-virus measures hampered the influx of new workers and the number of births fell, but it does not mention the exodus of residents following the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.


The population as of mid-2022 fell 1.6% from the same period last year to 7,291,600, the Census & Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. It said 18,300 new residents had arrived, while 113,200 residents had a net exodus.

The announcement chilled freedom of speech and left thousands of people vulnerable to national security laws and crackdowns that made lawyers and business consultants uneasy about what they were allowed to say to their clients.

Hong Kong spent two years under the world's toughest travel restrictions, mimicking mainland China.

"The pandemic and related quarantine requirements are believed to have impacted the influx of talent," the statement said. "If quarantine and social distancing measures are eased, the problem could be resolved."

Population expert Paul Yip of the University of Hong Kong said, Many of the retirees are young couples and college graduates who are a "very important part" of the workforce, he told the government. Broadcaster RTHK.

"The magnitude of the spill has increased over the past two years," he said. It "may affect Hong Kong's economic development."

There were 35,100 births in the first six months of 2022, down from 38,500 in the same period last year, according to government reports.

Hong Kong's fertility rate is already the lowest in Asia and has declined steadily over the past five years, the government said. It said it may have been exacerbated since early 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic.

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