About 121,500 residents departed Hong Kong in the year ended June 30, leaving the population at about 7.29 million. That means the population fell 1.6%, marking the third straight year of decline and the biggest drop in at least 6 decades. The number coming in is also dropping rapidly. According to the Immigration Department, Hong Kong handed out 32,248 work visas last year, down from 62,155 in 2017. The growing exodus of residents is shrinking Hong Kong’s workforce and undermining the economic outlook for the once-freewheeling city. Moreover, the population outflow is making Hong Kong age faster, as the departure of mainly younger workers and their children increases the proportion of retirees as a percentage of the population. Since August 2018, Hong Kong’s labour force has dropped by about 6% to 3.75 million people.
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