'Maternity migration' and the increased sex ratio at birth in Hong Kong SAR

Stuart Basten, Georgia Verropoulou

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Scopus citations


    The sex ratio at birth (SRB) in Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) has recently increased dramatically. Using a data set (N = 850,331) of all recorded births in Hong Kong between 1995 and 2009, we calculated SRBs by parity and immigrant status. The findings indicate a strong son preference among Mainland Chinese who have travelled to Hong Kong to give birth, especially at parity two or above. Logistic regression models show that this tendency is significantly greater among more affluent couples and remains strong even among Mainland Chinese women resident in Hong Kong for any length of time. The SRB of Hong Kong-born couples, though elevated at higher parities, is less skewed. Hong Kong has been serving as an outlet for 'elite' Mainland couples to circumvent family planning restrictions. The analysis also suggests the advantages of a wider set of immigrant variables over a binary construct.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)323-334
    Number of pages12
    JournalPopulation Studies
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Nov 2013


    • China
    • fertility
    • Hong Kong SAR
    • sex ratio
    • sex selection


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