2016 Population By-census results reveal latest demographic trends
Hong Kong population more than doubled over past 55 years
1. The 2016 Population By-census shows that the Hong Kong Resident Population in mid-2016 was 7.34 million, more than doubled that in 1961.
2. The growth of the population was faster in the 1960s and 1970s. Population growth slowed down afterwards, with the average annual population growth rate dropping from 1.5% for 1981-1986 to 0.7% for 2011-2016.
Hong Kong population was ageing rapidly
3. The ageing trend in the population continued and the pace of ageing became faster in the recent years. The recent acceleration of the ageing trend was mainly attributable to the post-war baby boomers entering old age. The proportion of elderly persons aged 65 and above in the total population rose from 12% in 2006 to 16% in 2016. The increase in this 10-year period was similar in magnitude to that in the preceding 20-year period (the proportion increased from 8% in 1986 to 12% in 2006).
4. On the other hand, as a result of fertility decline, the number of children aged under 15 decreased from 1.28 million in 1961 to 0.83 million in 2016. Their proportion in the total population dropped significantly from 40.8% to 11.3%.
5. The combined effects of the decreased number of young persons and the increased number of elderly persons are also reflected in the increase of the median age of the population. The median age of the population increased from 23.2 in 1961 to reach 43.4 in 2016. The population ageing phenomenon is clearly seen in the 1961 and 2016 population pyramids.
60% of the population was born in Hong Kong
6. Although migration is an important element of population change in Hong Kong, the proportion of population born in Hong Kong is still high. It maintained at about 60% throughout the past 10 years. The proportion of persons born in the mainland of China/ Macao/ Taiwan dropped slightly from 33.5% in 2006 to 31.0% in 2016. On the other hand, the proportion of persons who were born elsewhere increased from 6.2% to 8.4%. This was mainly attributed to the large number of foreign domestic helpers who came to work in Hong Kong during the period.
7. In 2016, among the population aged 65 and over, 32.4% were born in Hong Kong. Among successively younger age groups, the proportions of the population born in Hong Kong increased in general. However, the proportion of the population born in Hong Kong for those aged 25-44 was lower than that for those aged 45-64, as the population aged 25-44 included a large number of foreign domestic helpers.
8. For persons aged under 15, 90.9% were born in Hong Kong. The increase in the proportion of Hong Kong-born population for this age group in the past 10 years, from 84.1% to 90.9%, was mainly due to fewer children newly arrived from the mainland of China. This might be related to the decreasing trend of cross-boundary marriages between Hong Kong males and females from the mainland of China in recent years.
Sex ratio continued to decline since 1980s
9. The overall sex ratio (number of males per 1 000 females) for the Hong Kong population increased from 1 056 in 1961 to 1 093 in 1981. However, it started to decline since then, dropping to 852 in 2016.
10. In analysing the sex ratio, it is relevant to consider several factors: (a) at birth there are more boys than girls; (b) there are a large number of foreign domestic helpers, who are mostly females and their population is constantly increasing; (c) for the new arrivals from the mainland of China, many are wives of Hong Kong men; and (d) females live longer than males.
11. For children aged under 15, the sex ratio declined from 1 083 in 1961 to 1 047 in 1971, and then rebounded to 1 079 in 1981. Since 1991, the sex ratio remained stable at around 1 065 - 1 084.
12. However, relatively more significant changes occurred in the age groups of 25-44 and 45-64 where the sex ratios dropped continuously starting from 1 223 and 1 108 in 1981 to 707 and 871 in 2016 respectively. The influx of female foreign domestic helpers and new arrivals from the mainland of China contributed mainly to this fall. After excluding foreign domestic helpers, the sex ratio in 2016 became 878 for those aged 25-44 and 908 for those aged 45-64.
13. As females tend to live longer than males, the sex ratio of those aged 65 and over remained at below 1 000.
Both women and men were postponing their marriage
14. Both women and men were postponing their marriage. There had been an increase in the proportion of never married population in the ages of 20-49 over the past 10 years. In 2016, excluding foreign domestic helpers, 18.2% of men aged 40-49 were found remaining single (an increase of 4.3 percentage points compared to 2006), while the corresponding proportion for women was 15.9% (an increase of 2.4 percentage points compared to 2006).