Hong Kong's fertility rate has been consistently below the replacement level of 2,100 live births per 1,000 women over the past 38 years. After experiencing a historic low of 901 in 2003, the fertility rate rebounded to 1,285 in 2012, followed by a gradual decline to 1,051 in 2019. It's common in Hong Kong that married adults have intergenerational obligations, which are mentally, physically and financially taxing, said Stuart Gietel-Basten, a professor of social science and public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. "The heavy family onus dissuades young people from getting married," he said. While a high number of Hong Kong women are working as employment has shifted from industries and services, "the penalty is high for women to have children." Nevertheless, Gietel-Basten suggested that one must be cognizant of the difference between "how many children people have at given years" and "how many they have in the course of their lives" before reassessing the impact of Hong Kong's low birth rate.