CCCH9015 China: Culture, State and Society
Population, Society and Sustainable Development in Hong Kong

[This course is under the thematic cluster of ‘Sustaining Cities, Cultures, and the Earth’.]


Course Description

Very much like that of economic and social development, the population of Hong Kong has dramatically restructured due to the influx of Chinese immigrants in the fifties and the wave of the population born locally in the sixties and seventies, then later the quota system of migration control of mainlanders, rapid declining fertility and increasing life expectancy. Today, several demographic concerns persist such as extremely low fertility, gender imbalance, cross-border marriage, shrinking workforce, and ageing population. Demographic characteristics and processes are much influenced by social and political developments in Mainland China and economic growth and population in-and-out flow of Hong Kong. This course introduces various population theories, concepts and facts to enable students to develop a critical understanding of the inter-relatedness of the demographic, social, cultural, economic and political issues between Hong Kong and Mainland China and its sustainable development.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the concepts, theories, models and facts about population processes and demographic indicators.
  2. Describe the key facts about population policies and schemes, evaluate the impacts of the forces on modernization, and examine the social and economic implications of population dynamics in a multidisciplinary context with reference to Hong Kong, China, and international settings.
  3. Identify and analyze population issues in relation to social services and public policies.
  4. Analyze the contributions of fertility, mortality, and migration to population change and characterize the political and social forces in the process of modernization at the local and global levels.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

First semester (Wed)


Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 8
Reading / Self-study 20
Assessment: Essay / Report writing 30
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation) 10
Assessment: In-class test (incl preparation) 50
Total: 142

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Tutorial participation 20
Group research project 30
In-class test 50

Required Reading

  • Weeks, J. R. (2012). Population: An introduction to concepts and issues (11th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. [Chaps. 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (pp. 366-377), 10, 12]

Recommended Reading

  • Bloom, D. E., Canning, D., & Sevilla, J. (2003). The demographic dividend: A new perspective on the economic consequences of population change. Population Matters Monograph MR-1274, RAND.
  • Bloom, D. E., Canning, D., Fink, G., & Finlay, J. E. (2007). Fertility, female labor force participation, and the demographic dividend. Journal of Economic Growth, 14(2), 79-101.
  • Bryant, J. (2007). Theories of fertility decline and the evidence from development indicators. Population and Development Review, 33(1), 101-127.
  • Cheung, S. L. K., & Yip, S. F. P. (2010). Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta: Cross-boundary demographic dynamics and policy implications. Journal of Youth Studies, 13(1), 3-21.
  • Cheung, S. L. K., & Yip, S. F. P. (2010). Trends in healthy life expectancy in Hong Kong SAR, 1996-2008. European Journal of Ageing, 7, 257-269.
  • Cheung, S. L. K., Robine, J. -M., Tu, E. J. -C., & Caselli, G. (2005). Three dimensions of the survival curve: Horizontalization, verticalization, and longevity extension. Demography, 42(2), 243-258.
  • Citron, C. F., & Michael, R. T. (1995). Measuring poverty: A new approach. Washington DC: National Academy Press. From http://www.bls.gov/pir/spm/nasrpt.htm
  • Haub, C. (2007). Global aging and demographic divide. Public Policy and Ageing Report. 17, No.  4. Population Reference Bureau.
  • Haughton, J., & Khandker, S. R. (2009). Handbook on poverty and inequality. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. From http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/EXTPA/0,,contentMDK:22405907~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:430367,00.html
  • Kohler, H. -P., Billari, F. C., & Ortega, J. A. (2006). Low fertility in Europe: Causes, implications, and policy options. In F. R. Harris (Ed.), The baby bust: Who will do the work? Who will pay the taxes? Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher.
  • Livi-Bacci, M. (2007). A concise history of world population (4th ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. [pp. 112-158, 159-214]
  • Lutz, W., Sanderson, W. C., & Scherbov, C. (Eds.). (2004). The end of world population growth in the 21st Century: New challenges for human capital formation and sustainable development. London: Earthscan.
  • Martin, L. (1990). Changing intergenerational family relations in East Asia. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 510, 102-114.
  • McFalls, J. A., Jr. (2007). Population: A lively introduction. Population Bulletin, 62(1). (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Population Reference Bureau.
  • Rau, R., Soroko, E., Jasilionis, D., & Vaupel, J. W. (2008). Continued reductions in mortality at advanced ages. Population and Development Review, 34(4), 747-768.
  • Shen, J. (2006). Population growth, fertility decline, and ageing in Hong Kong: The perceived and real demographic effects of migration. Hong Kong: Shanghai-Hong Kong Development Institute, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies.
  • Tulijapurkar, S., Li, N., & Boe, C. (2000). A universal pattern of mortality decline in the G7 countries. Nature, 405, 789-792.
  • United Nations. (2008). World Population Policy 2007. Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
  • World Bank. (2011). Choosing and estimating a poverty line. From http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/EXTPA/0,,contentMDK:20242879~menuPK:435055~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:430367,00.html
  • Yip, P. (2017). Understanding Poverty. Chunghwa publisher.
  • Yip, P. S. F., & Lee, J. (2000). The effects of migration on the population distribution in Hong Kong. Asian Journal of Public Administration, 22(1), 90-104.
  • Yip, P. S. F., Cheung, S. L. K., Law, S. C. K., Chi, I., & Robine, J. -M. (2010). The demographic window and economic dependency ratio in the Hong Kong SAR. Asian Population Studies, 6(2), 241-260.
  • Yip, P. S. F., Law, C. K., & Cheung, S. L. K. (2009). Ultra-low fertility in Hong Kong: A review of related demographic transitions, social issues, and polices to encourage childbirth. In G. Jones, P. T. Straughan, & A. Chan (Eds.), Ultra-low fertility in Pacific Asia: Trends, causes and policy issues. New York: Routledge.
  • Yip, P. S. F., Lee, J., Chan, B., & Au, J. (2001). A study of demographic changes under sustained below-replacement fertility in Hong Kong SAR. Social Science & Medicine, 53, 1003-1009.

Recommended Websites


Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Professor P.S.F. Yip
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 4375
Email: sfpyip@hku.hk
Teacher(s) Contact
Professor P.S.F. Yip
Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel: 3917 4375
Email: sfpyip@hku.hk