Hong Kong's Economic Restructuring

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Hong Kong underwent two economic restructurings after the Second World War. It transformed from an entrepot to an industrial city in the 1950s and an international financial centre in the 1980s. The prospering economy led to rapid population growth, thus increasing the society’s demand for urban planning and accelerating urbanization. However, after the 1970s, economic development changed the traditional family and marriage concepts, leading to changes in population size and structure.

Hong Kong developed into an industrial city after the Second World War. Labor-intensive and export-oriented light industries developed rapidly. The economic restructuring led to population changes and sped up urbanization in Hong Kong.

The economic restructuring led to changes in population size in terms of natural increase. The rapid post-war economic recovery led to a baby boom. Birth rate increased by about 60% from 1951 to 1961. Also, economic development led to improvement in medical care and living standards, thus extending life expectancy. Death rate dropped slightly by 9% from 1951 to 1961. High birth rate and low death rate led to a relatively high natural increase and sharp population growth.

A change in population structure was another result of economic restructuring. Hong Kong had a young population in the 1950s and 1960s. The proportion of the under-15 age group to the total population soared from 30.4% in 1951 to 41% in 1961 due to the post-war baby boom. Besides, the 65 and over age group did not change much in proportion to the total population as death rate remained at a low level.

Population distribution was also affected by the economic restructuring. Post-war industrial development led to the emergence of more factories and job opportunities in New Kowloon, attracting the job-seeking Chinese to live there. In 1961, there were about 1 million people living on Hong Kong Island, 720 000 in Kowloon and 850 000 in New...
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