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Strengthening Hong Kong’s Families : Embracing a Holistic Family Approach in Formulating Social Policy and Providing Social Services Central Policy Unit.

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Presentation on theme: "Strengthening Hong Kong’s Families : Embracing a Holistic Family Approach in Formulating Social Policy and Providing Social Services Central Policy Unit."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strengthening Hong Kong’s Families : Embracing a Holistic Family Approach in Formulating Social Policy and Providing Social Services Central Policy Unit Hong Kong SAR Government 3 December 2008

2 Trends in Family Attitudes and Values – Implications for Policy Making Prof. Nelson Chow / Dr. Terry Lum / Dr. Elsie Yan Department of Social Work and Social Administration The University of Hong Kong

3 Study on Trends in Family Attitudes and Values A survey of 1,014 HK residents conducted in March fours groups of helping professionals conducted in Shamshuipo, Shaukeiwan and Tin Shui Wai

4 Attitude towards Ideal Family Strongly disagree DisagreeDependsAgree Strongly agree N (%) A childless couple can be an ideal family (0.3)(7.6)(5.6)(74)(11.9) A nuclear family is more ideal than a childless couple (0.6)(13.6)(15.6)(56.8)(12.6) A 3-generation extended family is more ideal than a nuclear family (1.6)(27.9)(24.7)(38.5)(5.5) A single parent family can also be an ideal family (3)(34.7)(16)(43.1)(1.3)

5 Attitude towards Ideal Family An ideal family can do without children But it is better to have children A 3-generation extended family is not necessarily ideal A single-parent family can be ideal Young people/higher income groups tend to be more liberal in attitude

6 Changes in Marriage Median age at first marriage Male Female Median Age at First Marriage

7 Changes in Marriage Number steadily decreased from 50,756 in 1981 to 32,825 in 2001 and came back to 50,328 in 2006 First marriage of both parties decreased from 41,190 in 1981 to 33,352 in 2006 Remarriage of either party increased, especially since 2001 One party from Mainland now consists more than 40% Divorce decrees increased from 2,060 on 1981 to 17,424 in 2006

8 Attitude towards Marriage Strongly disagreeDisagreeDependsAgree Strongly agree No.(%) Marriage is a necessary step in life (1.3)(13)(15.7)(58.4)(11.2) Child bearing is important in marriage (1.1)(15.8)(16.5)(55.6)(10.7) Marriage: Having a life long partner (0.4)(7.2)(6.8)(64.1)(20.9) Very few good marriages (1.7)(24.4)(20.8)(44.9)(6.4) Unmarried people face more social pressure (1.9)(45.9)(14.4)(33.3)(2.8) Married people are happier than unmarried people (1)(28.7)(30)(35.5)(3.5) 1993: Married people are happier than unmarried people (Lee, 1995) (38.9)(25.9)(26.7) 2008: Married people are happier than unmarried people (29.7)(30)(39)

9 Attitude towards Marriage Marriage and child bearing are still preferred Still want to have a life-long partner and happy marriage Negative towards unmarried persons Middle age and older persons reported higher acceptance of divorce More agreed divorce affects woman more than man Female were more likely to accept divorce as a solution to irresolvable martial problems People with more education were less likely to accept divorce More were willing to marry a divorced person, even with children

10 Attitude towards Cohabitation Strongly disagree DisagreeDependsAgree Strongly agree N (%) Cohabitation with a plan to marry (3)(19.8)(6.8)(64)(5.1) Cohabitation without a plan to marry (7.3)(35.7)(11.2)(42.4)(2.1) Long term cohabitation instead of marriage (7.2)(29.5)(11.3)(48.6)(2.1) 1988: Cohabitation 1 (Lee 1992)(6.6)(35.5)(24.6)(26.5)(1.9) working youth sample: Cohabitation (Yeung & Kwong, 1994) (61.3)-(38.7)

11 Attitude towards Cohabitation A general acceptance of cohabitation, especially with a plan to marry Long-tem cohabitation is accepted Young persons were more likely to accept cohabitation Higher income and higher education are associated with higher acceptance

12 Attitude towards Pre-marital Sex Strongly disagree DisagreeDependsAgreeStrongly agree N (%) Premarital sex with a plan to marry (2.9)(16.6)(10.2)(65.7)(3.4) Premarital sex with a stable relationship but no plan to marry (5.8)(29.7)(12.2)(48.8)(1.4) Premarital sex without a stable relationship (20.7)(52.9)(10.6)(14.1)(0.2)

13 Attitude towards Pre-marital Sex General acceptance of pre-marital sex, especially with a plan to marriage or with a stable relationship Younger and middle age, higher income and higher education were more likely to accept pre-marital sex Same-sex sexual relationship is not accepted by most

14 Attitude towards Extramarital Relationship Strongly disagree DisagreeDependsAgree Strongly agree N (%) Intimate relationship when no sex involved (14.6)(53.2)(11.7)(18.5)(0.2) Extra-marital sex (33.5)(55.8)(4.1)(5.4)(0.1) 1988: Men having extra-marital affairs (Lee, 1992) (20.8)(64.3)(7.8)(7.1)0 1988: Women having extra- marital affairs (Lee, 1992) (25.7)(64.6)(5.9)(3.8)0

15 Attitude towards Extramarital Relationship Large majority did not accept extramarital relationship, even with no sex No age and socio-economic status difference in attitude More male than female accepted

16 Reasons for not Having Children Long working hours Harsh environment for family and children Hong Kong is not a family and children friendly city Lack of financial means

17 Attitude towards Filial Piety Strongly disagree DisagreeDependsAgree Strongly agree N (%) Family disgrace should be kept within the family (1.8)(21.6)(15.8)(53.9)(6.1) Work hard to bring honor to the family (1.9)(25)(13.6)(50.1)(8.7) Consult parents for major decision (0.3)(10.5)(15)(62.8)(9.8) Seek elder’s help to resolve family conflict (1.4)(37.9)(23.2)(32.2)(3.7) Having son to continue family name (1.9)(35.1)(23.4)(33.9)(5.3) Having a son is better than having a daughter (9.7)(62.2)(19.7)(6.5)(0.9)

18 Attitude towards Filial Piety Majority agreed that family disgrace should be kept within the family Still wanted to work hard to bring honor to the family and consult parents in major decisions Less wanted to seek elders’ help to resolve family conflict Not important to have children to continue family name

19 Implications for policy making on Strengthening Hong Kong’s Families The need for research on family values and attitudes Respect for traditional values as well as the views of the minority Public platform for dialogues to make Hong Kong a family friendly city Building consensus around family friendly public policies and practices “Happy Learning Initiatives” for primary and school age children


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