Hong Kong suffers largest ever inhabitants drop as exodus accelerates

Hong Kong suffers biggest ever population drop as exodus accelerates

The city’s total population fell from 7.41 million people to 7.29 million, a 1.6% decrease, the Census and Statistics Department said Thursday.

Though authorities attributed some of that to a “natural” decrease — more deaths than births — experts said the figures also reflected an exodus that has accelerated in the past few years amid periods of massive social upheaval that have included anti-government protests and the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 113,200 residents left Hong Kong over the past year, the department said, compared to 89,200 the year before. The figures include expatriates and other non-permanent residents.

Throughout the pandemic, experts and industry leaders have warned that the city’s heavy-handed Covid-19 restrictions would drive away residents, travelers and expatriates.

Even as the rest of the world opened up, for months Hong Kong continued to close borders, suspend air routes and impose mandatory quarantines and social distancing measures such as caps on public…