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The aim of conducting population censuses/by-censuses is to obtain up-to-date benchmark information on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population of Hong Kong and on its geographical distribution.

Such information is vital to the Government for planning and policy formulation, and the private sector and academia for business and research purposes.


Overall design

A sample of about one-tenth of the residential addresses in Hong Kong was randomly selected for the 2016 Population By-census, covering some 300 000 quarters for enumeration. Some basic demographic information and a broad range of socio-economic characteristics were collected from members of the households.

A by-census differs from a census in not having a complete headcount of the population but simply focusing enquiry on the detailed characteristics of a large sample of the population. The size and characteristics of the entire population are inferred from the sample results in accordance with appropriate statistical theory.



The 2016 Population By-census was conducted in the 34-day period, from 30 June to 2 August 2016.


Data collection method

A multi-modal data collection approach was used.

Starting from 30 June 2016, households of the sampled quarters might complete their e-questionnaires online or using a dedicated mobile app.

From 16 July to 2 August 2016, the Census and Statistics Department arranged census officers to visit households that had not yet submitted e-questionnaires, and use mobile tablets to collect the required information.


Population coverage

The 2016 Population By-census covers all persons within the definition of the Hong Kong Resident Population under the "resident population" approach.

The "resident population" approach has been adopted to compile the population estimates of Hong Kong since August 2000, so as to take account of the changing residency and mobility patterns of the Hong Kong population.



Since 1961, a population census is conducted in Hong Kong every ten years and a By-census in the middle of the intercensal period.

Population censuses were conducted in 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011 while population by-censuses in 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006 and 2016.


Last revision date: 2 August 2016

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