Thursday, March 06, 2008

HK vs. UK Statistics

Many bbcs are in the position (because of dual nationality) of having a choice between living in Britain or Hong Kong and quite a few of us will - at some point in our life - have to weigh up the benefits of staying in either country.

So I thought it would be interesting to try and gather some statistics to compare the two places. We all have personal opinions about which country we prefer but perhaps looking at some actual data might change those opinions?

The statistics are from the website Nationmaster where you can find a wealth of information about various countries. It's generally considered to be a reliable website for facts and figures.

I was limited by the data available from the site so whilst I was hoping to compare all kinds of stats such as quality of life, cultural diversity, arts etc. there simply weren't that many categories that have figures for both the UK and HK.

For some reason, it's crime that has the most comprehensive data so this article will be dominated by crime-related stats.

All the figures are proportional (e.g. per 1000 people) so the figures should provide a fair comparison.

So here we go, let's have a look at 'HK vs UK Statistics':
Total Crimes per capita
Ranked #6 of 60 United Kingdom: 85.5517 per 1,000 people
Ranked #43 of 60 Hong Kong: 11.6817 per 1,000 people

The UK experiences massively more crime per capita than HK and surprisingly the stats show that only 5 other countries in the world have a higher crime rate than Britain.

But crime comes in all shapes and sizes, so let's look in a little more detail...

Robberies per capita
Ranked #8 of 64 United Kingdom: 1.57433 per 1,000 people
Ranked #35 of 64 Hong Kong: 0.497608 per 1,000 people

A surprisingly high ranking for the UK with only 7 other nations in the world worse for robbery.

Murders per capita
Ranked #46 of 62 United Kingdom: 0.0140633 per 1,000 people
Ranked #59 of 62 Hong Kong: 0.00550804 per 1,000 people

Both countries rank low, but the UK figure is over twice as high.
Assaults per capita
Ranked #8 of 57 United Kingdom: 7.45959 per 1,000 people
Ranked #30 of 57 Hong Kong: 1.07987 per 1,000 people

UK figure is 7 times higher.

Burglaries per capita
Ranked #7 of 54 United Kingdom: 13.8321 per 1,000 people
Ranked #35 of 54 Hong Kong: 1.30004 per 1,000 people

HK is known for its dense housing yet this figure more than 10 times higher in the UK. Those metal gates on all the doors obviously do their job.

Software Piracy Rate
Ranked #53 of 84 Hong Kong: 52%
Ranked #79 of 84 United Kingdom: 29%

The one crime where HK scores higher. You're probably not surprised, right? Interestingly, HK is still way down the league table, though.

Drug Offences
Ranked #12 of 34 United Kingdom: 214.3 per 100,000 people
Ranked #24 of 34 Hong Kong: 34 per 100,000 people

Drugs seem to be a lot less common in HK.

Ranked #2 of 61 United Kingdom: 5.28324 per 1,000 people
Ranked #24 of 61 Hong Kong: 0.737788 per 1,000 people

UK is nearly the world leader in fraud. Germany is 1st.


That's a selection of the various crime stats I found on Nationmaster, and as you can see the UK out-scores HK massively in every area ... except software piracy.

An interesting thought is that the difference is so huge in so many areas and yet Hong Kong was a British colony for almost a century, in theory being run under a British system and British values.

It occurred to me (although it wasn't what I set out to prove) that for those who say Hong Kong is what it is mainly because of the British influence, these stats show that the British influence didn't really permeate Hong Kong that deeply. Because if they had, you could argue, the differences wouldn't be so huge.

So what else can we look at besides crime? I tried to find more lifestyle and health related stats and the ones I was able to pull are as follows:

Suicide amongst Females
Ranked #12 of 81 Hong Kong: 11.3 per 100,000 people
Ranked #51 of 81 United Kingdom: 3.3 per 100,000 people

Suicide amongst Males
Ranked #43 of 81 Hong Kong: 13.4 per 100,000 people
Ranked #47 of 81 United Kingdom: 11 per 100,000 people

Similar numbers for males but both are higher in Hong Kong, and a lot higher for HK females.

Seeing this statistic, I was reminded of melodramatic scenes from those Hong Kong TV dramas where a distraught woman can see no way out but to take her own life. I wonder if Chinese/Asian society is more tolerant of suicide and whether this might explain the higher numbers for HK? Culturally is there a difference between how suicide is perceived? Is it more stigmatised in the West?

GDP per capita
Ranked #13 of 195 United Kingdom: $36,508.663 per capita
Ranked #29 of 195 Hong Kong: $25,592.286 per capita

The UK remains a financial force to be reckoned with, and the GDP reflects this. However, considering Hong's tiny size and limited resources, its GDP is pretty impressive.
And finally...

Life expectancy:
Ranked #6 of 220 Hong Kong: 81.68 years
Ranked #36 of 220 United Kingdom: 78.7 years

Despite it's reputation for smelly air and the lack of a welfare state, only 5 countries in the world have a higher life expectancy than HK.


So there you have it: A selection of stats comparing HK to the UK. Did any of them surprise you?


Anonymous said...

So, how about you? Would you prefer - at some point in your life - Hong Kong or Britain?

burntbreadboy said...

I'm not sure if I coul earn a living in HK as my Conatonese isn't good enough - unless I worked in Western company.

In the long term I might end up retiring in HK. The weather, food and lifestyle is certainly better there!

Anonymous said...

I will fly to Hong Kong and Macau this Sept 28. I'm sure it's a very interesting place, much better than Singapore :)

Anonymous said...

Good article.

re: the question at the end - frankly, no. And I truly doubt that you'd find many people who would disagree with that.

Chinese people are generally brought up on 'stronger' values and principles than people here in the UK. This is probably the primary reason behind the low crime etc. I think a lot of British people admire HK for its culture and delicious food!

Personally, I would love to live in HK for a while - maybe even just to raise my kids there. But its daunting to think about moving my life there. said...

If Hong Kong hasn't been influenced by the UK so much (and I don't think it has in terms of personal/home values), then why are so HKers so proud of differenciating themselves from Mainland Chinese! The only reason HK became different surely, is because of British rule! I think a lot of HK people forget they are in the root of them, Mainland Chinese.

The UK is a much much bigger place, with a big mix of races so I don't know how fair these statistics are. But there is certainly where I live, an sense of discontent from older and young people especially and I am sure a lot of the high crime figures come from the fact that people don't have a stable homelife.

I also think that the concept of 'shame' which runs strongly thorough Chinese culture hardly exists in British. Chinese don't want to come across as stupid, English think its funny. Chinese would hate to embarass their family, English families are joining in. Brits are far more forgiving to wrongdoings, a Chinese family would be embarassed and there would be concequences.

On suicide though - isn't it stigmatised in the West and East? If anything, in England people are more matter of fact about it, in the East, there is the spiritual side to take care of, with the people who are left behind.

Perhaps life is harder in HK. Unlike in the UK, if you got pregnant, lost your job, got kicked out of your house, you have the state backup; very people are truly living in poverty in the UK but in HK, if you are in dire straits, the help isn't necessarily there. You can choose to either sink or swim. Chinese women seem extremely prone to suicides - I wonder if it is linked to things like unexpected pregnancy, things linked to dishonouring their families?

When I have kids, they will likely be mixed race and I would love them to be raised in HK. Stronger values I think, and I think they would deal with less racism or bullying.

Anonymous said...

All very interesting comments. I have actually just moved to HK to start a job, I'm a BBC. I had this concept, 'I need to and want to see the place that my parents are from and grew up in'. I graduated from uni last summer and thought why not, just give HK a try, because I don't want to regret it in the future and say...If only I did that when I was young. If I don't like the life style in a few years I will move back home to UK.

Finding a job is not as easy as people think, unless you are very academic or work in the bank/finance/insurance sector! I have a hospitality backgraound, my degree was in that area, worked in US for Marriott, worked for Marriott in London. When I applied to work in HK for hotels, it is immensly competitive and have been to a few interviews and sent numerous emails. The two barriers are lack of experience (by HK standards) and the inability to speak Mandarin.

As a result i am looking to learn Mandarin, gonna give it a yr then apply for hotels, currently work for a US company.

However, HK is a very interesting and different place!!

Unknown said...

re: female suicides
i have researched a little into this through my college essay and it seems historically, women often saw no way out of a situation, more often than say men, and resorted to suicide. Situations involving shame, shame of a family member, accepting role as 4th concubine, being cuckolded, usually powerless in male-dominated society, suicide was one threat by a woman that demanded to be taken seriously, and as a consequence was often carried out, dutifully.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points. Yor blog is goodd, but not easy to read. The size of the font is very small (an no I don't need to wear glasses) so it makes it difficult to read. Even worse are the big spot all over the place, which also makes reading it much harder and slower too.

In this article you keep referrring to Hong Kong Kong as a country. When it is not. It is a Special Administrative Region of the People Republic of China.

The other thing is I am opposite to you. I am a Caucasian who was born and grew up in Hong Kong, so I see things differently. Firstly, I would never live in UK. The crim rate is high, the taxes are high (unlike Hong Kong which is only 17&) and a lot of the people suck. That said, I am sure the environment is better, as we have a lot more problems with poollution and Hong Kon g is of course much more crowded that UK. we have the best Police Service in the world and thats why the crim rate is lower than UK. Also, judging from some of the news reports I have seen from UK, we have the bes International Airport. I see they had tons of problems getting the new terminal at Heathrow functioning. To put icing on the cake, we even got a Disney here, sometheing you may or may not like, but you don't have in UK.

Keep going withthe blog, it makes interesting reading over here.

Unknown said...

I find this interesting. The statistics you have on crimes are virtually useless. It is a well known fact that crime rates typically represent the quality of enforcement... Not the prevalence. For instance, I HIGHLY doubt Sweden has a higher actual crime rate than the UK, but statistically, it does. Its the same with countries like Canada, we all know they are much safer - but law enforcement is better. Also, to the individual that commented on the airport, well.. If living conditions are based on the quality of an international airport, Asia would be the most developed part of the world (HA!).

KuEN said...

To the person show said the font is too small, new browsers can increase font size for your viewing. Ctrl++ on PC and Command++ on the Mac.

Anyway a interesting blog, I hope there is a follow up with currently economic climate.

I move into HK last year and currently wondering if I should stay in HK or go back to UK. I think crime would be more report in UK therefore given a sence that is there is more crime. I think in HK, people that wouldn't report a crime if they don't think it will solve the problem.

But I was surprised about the life expectancy, I would thought the more healthy diet in UK that you would live longer. I guess its all depends on what you actually eat, if you have a fry-up day of your life, your not going to live very long. I always thought in HK, you would more things like BBQ and food store in heavy polluted areas. That this alone would reduce you life, maybe like macD it preserves your body, therefore live longer LOL.

RHF said...

I don't think it's wholly inaccurate to attribute some of HK's safer nature to UK influence.

The UK used to be a very safe place, crime has shot up over the last 20-30 years as it has become, well, less British.

Compare HK with mainland china and you've got a truer picture. My wife is PRC Chinese and a schoolfriend of hers was recently stabbed to death by a gang, in Wuhan.

Anonymous said...

Britain did a great job in Hong Kong.

Not really fair to compare Britain and Hong Kong. A better comparison would be between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

lost in translation said...

Came across this randomly and found it an interesting read.

I'm a BBC who moved to Hong Kong quite a few years ago. I didnt find it tough to find a job, I found it tough to adjust to the cultural changes more than anything.

I don't regret hauling my life over here, but there certainly are a mass of trade off's.

Interestingly, as someone who has been here a while, I'm weighing up my own stats. Those stats are the HK vs UK catergory but in a different manner.

All the stats you present are NOT any of the ones im considering in staying or going. Mines now more on where do I see my future.
I'm at the stage of been there, done that, got the HK where next. Back home or stay?

Pollution, stress, suicide. It happens and its global.
TAX should've been mentioned here people, thats a very valid reason to stay in HK.

compare UK taxes with HK and you'll have yourself a clear winner.

Anonymous said...

Basically the UK scores worst in almost every area but you have to consider UK being (Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have a population 8.8 times of HK.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am not BBC, but I spent most of my teenage and adultwood in UK. I find your blog interesting but I disagree with some of your point. I personally dont think you should compare UK with HK, because the different between Country and City is not comparable. But I dont suggest comparing HK with London neither, as I dont think London is typical English city, maybe manchester/brimingham. Apart from that I do think your blog is really good to read.

Best wish,

Anonymous said...

I was searching for something else in the Internet when I come across this blog. I'm a Chinese living in HK. HK culture is obviously under the influence of UK, but u really can't compare the crime rate between uk and hk. we learned a lot from the british,that's why we are more 'civilized' than the Mainlanders. God, do we hate them.
Maybe perhaps one of the reasons that the rate of female sucidie is so high is because Chinese culture is all about 'face'. When you do something wrong, people are shamed of themselves.It runs deep in our blood, can't really change about it unless you aren't brought up in HK.