Social Changes and Educational Stratification in Hong Kong, 1991-2001

Xiaogang Wu, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Education plays an important role in social stratification in modern society both as an avenue of social mobility and as a tool for social reproduction. This paper examines the effect of family backgrounds on school enrollment and attainment in Hong Kong from 1991 to 2001, during which the city has undertaken dramatic economic and political transformations and social changes. Based on the 5% samples of population census and by-census data in 1991, 1996, and 2001, I restrict the analysis to school-age cohorts between 8 and 20, and construct a data set matching individuals’ education records with their parents’ backgrounds for each year. Significantly temporal changes are found with respect to the effect of parents’ education, occupation and employment status, income, as well as immigration status, on school participation and progression. These changes are discussed in the context of education expansion, the transition to China’s rule, and Asian financial crisis.

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Presented in Session 172: Social Stratification and Inequality