Hong Kong's Family Structure and Living Patterns - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1823 Words
Date:  2023-01-16


In the context of social transformation, Hong Kong's family structure and living patterns are undergoing significant changes. The family size is shrinking, the family structure is undergoing significant changes: the proportion of core families is declining; the proportion of immediate families, single-person families, and empty-nest families is increasing. With the advancement of industrialization and urbanization, especially after the reform and opening up, Hong Kong has experienced rapid social transformation, from traditional to modern, from agriculture to industry, from closed to open, from single to pluralistic and development. The size, structure, and way of living of the family have changed, which may weaken traditional family functions such as parenting and support. There is need to analyze the development of child care as welfare policy in Hong Kong in light of the rapid changes of the family structure and how such development of child care affects the status and role of women and the family as a whole.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Changes of the Family Structure

Studies have shown that the size of households in Hong Kong is shrinking significantly. Before 1990, it was due to the decline in the number of children born. After 1990, more and more of the main families were reduced due to migration and lifestyle changes (Ting, 2012). The data of the past ten years show that the core family is the dominant family form, but the proportion has declined. The proportion of couples and intergenerational families has increased significantly and the proportion of single-person households has risen remarkably. The proportion of direct families is relatively stable, and has slightly increased. The proportion of main families has declined and the united families have disappeared (Ting, 2012). The change of living pattern is related to the increase of single-child families. The marriage of only children is the main influencing factor of the family structure of their parents. The couples are more likely to live separately from their parents after marriage. Migration of population is another important factor in the change of family structure. The migration of the population has caused "defects" in core families and immediate families, and increased the proportion of single-person households, empty-nest families and intergenerational families.

Hong Kong and China in general has been a traditional society for thousands of years. At the beginning of the founding of New China and Hong Kong, agricultural output accounted for nearly 80% of GDP. After the reform and opening up, Hong Kong's industrialization and urbanization developed rapidly, and people's ideas and concepts also underwent profound changes. The changes in ideas and concepts in the process of social transformation in China are different from those in Western countries, and there are two-sided features of endogenous and exogenous (Ting, 2012). On the one hand, China is a country with a long history and splendid traditional culture. Family concepts and filial piety culture have been passed down from generation to generation as good traditions and become an integral part of moral norms (Wong, 1975). On the other hand, they are influenced by Western industrial civilization. The trend of thought led to the struggle against patriarchy and the pursuit of independence and freedom. Thus, the traditional and modern concepts of ideas in the process of social transformation are, forming an intergenerational mode of intertwining between tradition concepts (traditional and modern) and life processes (children's needs and parents' needs).

The traditional family of China and Hong Kong relied on the clan system with patriarchal power and husband's right as the core. On the contrary, modernity changes the mode of residence, the number of children decreases, and the offspring gradually become independent of the social work of the father (Chow, 1996). Without relying on the social relations and resources of the clan, women's cultural level and labor participation are significantly improved, and their social status and roles are gradually approaching men. Modernity changes the living patterns of children and parents. Along with the life cycle of the family and its members, the living patterns of parents and children have also changed, with their respective needs as the driving force for change.

Changes in Family Size

The characteristics of the social transition period have led to the following trends in Chinese families: On the one hand, modernization is the most important catalyst for population change, and the number of parents with fewer children has reduced the size of the family and the family relationship has become simple (Gietel & Verropoulou, 2018). Taking the one-child family as an example, the only child has no brothers and sisters, and his children have no uncles. The reduction in the number of family members also makes the family structure simplistic and fragile. China's and Hong Kong's economy have grown rapidly, and the urban-rural dual structure has been gradually broken. Working in the southeast coastal areas and rapid urbanization have made the multi-generational families in rural areas disintegrated into single-family or nuclear families, which has led to a continuous decline in the size of the family.

Urban-Rural Differences and Modernization in Family Structure

Modernization is an important factor in the changes of family structure, including the decline of fertility rate, changes in production methods and lifestyle changes, all of which can be reflected in the urban-rural differences in family structure. Factors affecting "individual modernization" include education, professional experience, access to the mass media, participation in social organizations, and urban life experiences among others. The miniaturization of the family has also increased the burden of family pension. The fertility rate has dropped rapidly, and the number of children born to the family has decreased, making the burden of pensions worse. Especially for the one-child family, the inverted structure of the "Four Two One" makes family pension very difficult (Gietel & Verropoulou, 2018). The trend of family miniaturization makes family pensions a universal burden and has affected the harmony and stability of society. The family structure is becoming simpler, but it also reflects the need for more social support. In the past, the functions that were only performed by the family gradually became ineffective and require other social support, such as schools, social welfare organizations, religious institutions and even the government.

Changing Roles of Women

In the past, the role of women was staying at home, giving birth to children, and carrying out home chores (Cheung, 1990). However, modernization changed the roles of women and they are no longer house wives only. The social and economic participation of women has increased. The government has established many learning institutions and many women have seized this opportunity. In Hong Kong, women have more opportunities of receiving education compared to men. . The development and growth of the service profession has absorbed this group of highly educated women, and their job opportunities, especially for the senior middle school, have increased greatly due to the popularity of education. Today, women in Hong Kong have higher career status and income compared to many men. The economic status of women is formally established and is constantly improving.

Hong Kong women have the longest life expectancy in the world and the number of years of education. Many women are the heads of parliament and government departments, and the wage gap between men and women is small. But in a fast-paced and high-pressure life like Hong Kong, they still struggle because of the difficulty in achieving balance between family and career. The low birth rate in Hong Kong ranks high in the world. In recent years, the median age of first marriage for women in Hong Kong has exceeded 29 years (Siu, 2019). Most women in Hong Kong are well educated and have a high level of employability. According to statistics, among women aged 20-24 in Hong Kong, the employment rate of women is even higher than that of men. Stable work can keep women financially independent, but once they get married, women often need to temporarily withdraw from the workplace, so many people have a late marriage (Calasanti, Slevin, & King, 2006). Because women's reproductive age is limited, even if they want to continue to delay the marriage, they can only make compromises.

In many developed countries, in addition to the function of promoting children's development, early childhood education and care services have the effect of releasing women's labor force, but the latter has great restrictions in Hong Kong. The reason is that the child care centre services for 0-6 years old are not planned. The number of child care centers under the age of 3 is very small. The number of service places for 0-2 years old is only 700, and the population of the age group is 100,000.

Development of Child Care as Welfare Policy in view of Changing Family Structures and Women Roles

In Hong Kong, the maternity leave of the working mother is not only pitiful, but also the maternity leave of the husband is only 8.3 weeks of full-pay maternity leave. Whether it is the mainland or Hong Kong, this is a far cry from Denmark (28.1 weeks), Sweden (45.6 weeks) and Slovenia (52.5 weeks) (Siu, 2018). Another key factor is that there are few child care services in the country. The high employment rate of women in European countries depends to a large extent on the high enrollment rate, allowing women to connect to the child care service immediately after enjoying parental leave and return to the workplace with peace of mind. For example, Denmark, which has the highest female employment rate, has a full-day enrollment rate of 81.7% for children under 3 years of age, followed by 46% and 54.5% for Sweden and Slovenia, respectively. In comparison, there are only 13% in Hong Kong, of which less than 2% under 2 years old, far from the EU standard (33%), not to mention the mainland (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2008).

The contradiction between women's birth and employment is not unique to Hong Kong. In all parts of the world, women are more or less faced with conflicts between employment and childbirth. In order to balance the relationship between women's employment and childbirth, and share the burden of women's childbearing and improve child care as welfare policy, Hong Kong should encourage men to share parenting responsibilities and establish male paid paternal leaves. Male paid parental leave aims to encourage more men to share parenting responsibilities, strengthen the role of men in the family, and give fathers and mothers equal opportunities in family and work and share the same responsibilities (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2008). Childcare service allowances with parental work requirements can effectively promote women's employment, however, this is not enough to promote women's employment and the interests of the children should be taken into account as well. Childcare subsidy should be decoupled from the current child welfare system that is premised on work, and then decoupled from the employment situation of parents. Childcare policies should focus on motivating parents to choose high-quality childcare services, i.e. parental benefits should be considered on the basis of the quality of parental childcare services.

There are no comprehensive supporting measures for child care. As far as planning is concerned, there is a lack of clear planning for child care centers...

Cite this page

Hong Kong's Family Structure and Living Patterns - Essay Sample. (2023, Jan 16). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/hong-kongs-family-structure-and-living-patterns-essay-sample

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism