Generational gaps in attitudes toward migrants : Hong Kong and Shanghai in comparison

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number101829
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Online published2 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023



Previous studies documented inconsistent findings of cohort differences in attitudes toward migrants. Some research has shown that younger people tend to be more welcoming toward migrants compared to older people; however, other research has shown the opposite. This suggests that the way different generations perceive migrants may depend on the specific local contexts in which they live. In this paper, we compared attitudes toward migrants in Hong Kong and Shanghai under the “one country, two systems” framework, using comparable data from the Hong Kong Panel Study of Social Dynamics and Shanghai Urban Neighborhood Survey. We found a sharp contrast in the attitudes toward migrants between Hong Kong and Shanghai. Compared to older people, young people in Shanghai were more friendly to migrants, yet young people in Hong Kong were more resistant to migrants. Our study identified disparities of generational gaps in attitudes toward migrants of the same ethnicity within one country. The relatively more positive attitudes toward migrants of younger cohorts (compared to people born before 1960) in Shanghai could be explained by educational level and life satisfaction. The relatively more negative attitudes toward migrants in Hong Kong could be explained by identity. Our empirical analyses suggest that local contexts matter in explaining generational gaps in attitudes toward migrants. © 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Research Area(s)

  • Attitudes toward migrants, Birth cohorts, Hong Kong, Identity, Life satisfaction, Shanghai

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