• Nearly 60 per cent are 29 or younger, while almost 18 per cent 45 or older.
  • And nearly 74 per cent had received at least some tertiary education.

Almost 75 per cent of the protesters who have taken to the streets in Hong Kong in recent weeks have had some higher education and nearly 60 per cent are younger than 30 years old, a study has found.

The first field study to focus on the anti-government movement also found that 16 per cent of the protesters were involved in social activism for the first time.

The survey, which was made public on Monday, was conducted by three local scholars: Professor Francis Lee Lap-fung, director of Chinese University’s School of Journalism and Communication, Edmund Cheng Wai, an assistant professor at Baptist University, and Samson Yuen Wai-hei of Lingnan University.

The researchers studied 6,600 questionnaires handed out at 12 anti-extradition protests between June 9 and August 4.

Lee said the government’s critics had several things in common: “Generally speaking, the protesters tend to be young and had received tertiary education.”

According to the survey, 57.7 per cent of the participants were age 29 or younger, while more than 26 per cent were between 20 and 24 years old – the biggest segment of the protest camp. Nearly 18 per cent of the protesters surveyed were 45 or older.

On August 9, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor courted controversy after suggesting that a small portion of the protesters had “no stake in the society” because they had resorted to violence that greatly damage the economy.

Among the 6,688 surveyed, 16.6 per cent said the anti-extradition movement was their first time taking part in social movements. The study found that 60.5 per cent said they had taken part in the 2014 Occupy protests.

Protesters were also asked about their political affiliations. Some 38 per cent identified as pan-democrats, 28.5 per cent said they were localists, and 6.9 per cent said they were radical democrats. Only 0.2 per cent identified as pro-establishment.

Of the protesters surveyed, 53.7 per cent were male and 46.3 per cent female.


Young, educated and middle class: first field study of Hong Kong protesters reveals demographic trends

#RobertReview (Hong Kong Protesters Demographics): 9.5 | 10


Published: 12 August 2019.


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Hong Kong protesters increasingly sympathise with radical action, survey finds, after months of anti-government unrest

  • More than 95 per cent of demonstrators agree that, without government concessions, radical tactics are understandable
  • Researchers behind on-the-ground polls also note slender majority in favour of escalation, and very few calling for a pause to the unrest

Researchers behind the study cited the government’s intransigence and the Yuen Long station attack for fuelling the shift in stance, adding that they found little appetite among the activists for a break from the protests.

Of 717 people polled during a Tseung Kwan O protest on August 4, more than nine out of 10 (95.9 per cent) agreed with the statement: “When the government fails to listen, the use of radical tactics by protesters is understandable.”

That was a sharp increase from under seven in 10 (69.1 per cent) of 875 protesters who gave the same answer on June 16.


The First Demographics Study of Hong Kong Protesters. 60% are 29 or younger, 74% had received some tertiary education