Demographics of Hong Kong

Demographics of Hong Kong

Demographics of Hong Kong

Demographics and Culture of Hong Kong

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This article is about the demographic features of the population of Hong Kong, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with an overall density of some 6,300 people per square kilometre. The term "densely populated, green city" is used to describe the majority of the people living in apartments in high-rise buildings, and most land reserved for open spaces, country parks, and woodland.

Hong Kong has one of the world’s lowest birth rates—0.9 per woman of child-bearing age, far below the replacement rate of 2.1. With just 1,032 babies born in 2009 to every 1000 fertile women, it is estimated that 26.8% of the population will be aged 65 or more in 2033, up from 12.1% in 2005.



People from Hong Kong generally refer to themselves, in Cantonese, as Hèung Góng Yàhn (Chinese: 香港人; Cantonese Yale: Hèung Góng Yàhn; literally "Hong Kong people"); however the term is not restricted to those of Chinese descent. Due to Hong Kong's nearly 150-year colonial history that saw the stationing of English, Indians and Russians among other ethnic groups as civil servants or traders.[clarification needed] Thus a distinct and legitimate non-Cantonese culture with specifics to Hong Kong grew. Mixing of cultural groups did not occur much beyond governance and business due to two main reasons:

  1. Between Chinese and other ethnicities: the Cantonese language posed a significant barrier for newcomers. Far too often non-Chinese were stationed in Hong Kong for fixed periods of time (2-, 4-, 8-year terms) and thus motivation to learn the language was reduced. Furthermore pre-1970s Hong Kong saw official governance favouring English or British culture for the most part. For example, English was the only official language and educational institutes of quality were also English speaking. Therefore a continuation of English culture by recent English immigrants was simple and official policy; the need to integrate with the Chinese populations was thus limited. Furthermore Chinese population were largely unable to learn English due to the lack of proper educational facilities in pre-1970 Hong Kong. Racial tensions arose as a result of perceived imbalances, leading to the 1966 and 1967 riots.
  2. Between non-Chinese ethnicities: most non-Chinese ethnic groups came to Hong Kong as traders, civil servants or soldiers in which one's race played a significant role in the determination of class. For example, the 1928 HK Police handbook clearly assigns power, responsibility and rank based on ethnicity (White, Indian and Chinese).

In English, the term "Hong Kongers" (or sometimes Hongkongers) and "Hongkongese" are becoming more popular to describe the people of and unique local culture of Hong Kong.[1][2] The term 'Hong Konger' or 'Hongkonger' is used to refer to the Hong Kong people, while 'Hong Kong' (or 'Hongkongese') is an adjective for people or things related to Hong Kong.

Demographic statistics


Census data

Year Count Source
1841 5000-7,500 census 1841[3]
1848 24,000 [3]
1851 33,000 [3]
1855 72,000 [3]
1862 120,000 [4]
1881 160,402 Britannica 1911
1891 221,441 Britannica 1911
1901 283,978 Britannica 1911
1906 326,961
1916 530,000 [4]
1921 625,166 [5]
1925 725,000 [4]
1931 849,800 census 1931
1941 1,600,000 [4]
1945 500,000 [6]
1945 600,000 [7]
1945 750,000 [8]
1950 2,200,000 [7]
1950 2,360,000 [6]
1960 3,000,000 [9]
1970 3,995,400 [10]
1980 5,145,100 [10]
1985 5,524,600 [10]
1995 6,270,000 [10]
2000 6,711,500 [10]
2005 6,837,800 [10]
2009 7,003,700 [10]
People of Hong Kong

CIA World Factbook demographic statistics

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Age structure: (End of 2006 est.)[11]

 0-14 years: 13.5% (male 482,500; female 452,100)
15-24 years: 13.1% (male 445,400; female 459,300)
25-34 years: 15.3% (male 462,000; female 592,000)
35-44 years: 18.1% (male 547,000; female 698,400)
45-54 years: 17.5% (male 594,200; female 613,400)
55-64 years: 10.0% (male 353,500; female 337,400)
65 and over: 12.5% (male 339,500; female 464,800)

Average age: 41.7 (2008 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.53% (2008 est.)

Birth rate: 7.37 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 5.93 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: 8.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 0.914 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Average marriage age:

male: 30
female: 27

Marriage: (2006 est.)

Never Married 32% (1,920,522)
Now married 57.8% (3,423,995)
Divorced 3.2% (189,563)
Separated 0.6% (34,722)

Infant mortality rate: 5.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 82.88 years
male: 81.85 years
female: 84.41 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.04 children born/woman (2010 est.)


definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 92.2%
male: 96%
female: 88.2% (1996 est.)

By ethnicity

An anti-discrimination poster in Admiralty MTR station.

Chinese make up 95% of the population with the other groups floating at around 5%.[12] The national census does not break down people of European descent into separate categories, nor are Chinese ethnic subgroups separated in the statistics. However, the majority of Hong Kongers of Chinese descent trace their ancestry to various parts of Southern China: the Guangzhou area, followed by Sze Yap (a region of four counties neighboring Guangzhou), Chaoshan (a region of North Guangdong home to Teochew speakers), Fujian and Shanghai.[13] Some Hong Kongers also originate from Hakka-speaking villages in the New Territories.[14] Most Teochew-speaking migrants immigrated to Hong Kong from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, while migrants from Fujian province (previously Min Nan speakers, and increasingly more Min Zhong and Min Bei speakers) have constituted a large-growing number of migrants since 1978.[15]

Ethnicity 2001 Number  % of Total 2006 Number  % of Total
Chinese 6,364,439 94.9% 6,522,148 95.0%
Filipino 142,556 2.1% 112,453 1.6%
Indonesian 50,494 0.8% 87,840 1.3%
Westerners 46,585 0.7% 36,384 0.5%
Indian 18,543 0.3% 20,444 0.3%
Nepalese 12,564 0.2% 15,950 0.2%
Japanese 14,180 0.2% 13,189 0.2%
Thai 14,342 0.2% 11,900 0.2%
Pakistani 11,017 0.2% 11,111 0.2%
Other Asian 12,835 0.2% 12,663 0.2%
Others 20,835 0.3% 20,264 0.3%
Total 6,708,389 100.0% 6,864,346 100.0%

Group category

Stanley Market, one of the more diverse destinations

The current list is in alphabetical order after category.

By Ethnicity

By Migration


The Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau, Hong Kong, the tallest outdoor buddha statue in the world.

The majority of residents of Hong Kong would claim no religious affiliation, professing a form of agnosticism or atheism.[16] According to the U.S Department of State only 43 percent of the population practices some form of religion.[17] Some figures put it higher, according to a Gallup poll, 64% of Hong Kong do not believe in any religion,[18][19] and possibly 80% of Hong Kong claim no religion.[20] According to another gallup poll, Hong Kong is the seventh least religious country in the world, with only 22% of the population considering religion an important part of their daily lives.[21] In Hong Kong teaching evolution won out in curriculum dispute about whether to teach other explanations, and that creationism and intelligent design will form no part of the senior secondary biology curriculum[22] [23]

Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of religious freedom, a right enshrined and protected through its constitutional document, the Basic Law. A local religious scholar in contact with major denominations estimates there are approximately 1.5 million Buddhists and Taoists.[17][24][25][26][27][28] Buddhists and Taoists share a common background of Confucian theory, Chinese folk religion (worship of folk deities and figures of Chinese mythology) and ancestor worship.

A sizable Christian community of around 560,000 local adherents (320,000 Protestants, 240,000 Roman Catholics)[29] to 660,000 exists (if including over 100,000 Filipino Catholics),[30] forming about 8% to 9% of the total population; it is roughly equally divided between Catholics and Protestants. Apart from the major religions, there are also a significant number of followers of other religions, including an estimated 90,000 Muslims; 22,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints;[31] 4,000 Jews; 4,789 Jehovah's Witnesses[32] and a number of Hindus, Sikhs and Bahá'ís.[29] There is also a small group of Jains in Hong Kong and their temple is situated in an apartment[citation needed]. Apart from offering religious instructions, many major religious bodies have established schools and provided social welfare facilities.

See also


  1. ^ Poon Angela and Jenny Wong, Struggling for Democracy Under China: The Implications of a Politicised 'Hongkongese' Identity
  2. ^ Sidney Cheung, Hong Kong Handover
  3. ^ a b c d Sanderson, Edgar. [1897] (1897) The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century: Its Progress and Expansion at Home and Abroad. Blackie publishing. No ISBN digitalized doc from Stanford university
  4. ^ a b c d Stanford, David. [2006] (2006). Roses in December. Lulu press. ISBN 1847539661
  5. ^ Sweeting, Anthony. [1990] (1990). Education in Hong Kong, pre-1841 to 1941. HK University Press. ISBN 9622092586
  6. ^ a b R.G. Horsnall, "The MacIntosh Cathedrals", in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, Vol. 35, 1995, pp. 171-176
  7. ^ a b Chan, Shun-hing. Leung, Beatrice. [2003] (2003). Changing Church and State Relations in Hong Kong, 1950-2000. Hong Kong: HK university press. Page 24. ISBN 962-2096123
  8. ^ Rees, Laurence. Iriye, Akira. [2002] (2002). Horror in the East: Japan and the Atrocities of WWII. Da Capo Preess. ISBN 0306811782
  9. ^ Manion, Melanie. [2004](2004). Corruption by Design: Building Clean Government in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Harvard University press. ISBN 0674014863
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Table 001: Population by Sex. Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department website.
  11. ^ HK Census. "HK Census." Statistical Table of population. Retrieved on 2007-03-16.
  12. ^ HK Census. "HK Census." Statistical Table. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.
  13. ^ Ng Sek Hong (2010). Labour Law in Hong Kong. Kluwer Law International. pp. 19. ISBN 9789041133076. 
  14. ^ Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember, Ian Skoggard, ed (2005). Encyclopedia of diasporas: immigrant and refugee cultures around the world. Diaspora communities. 2. Springer. pp. 94–95. ISBN 9780306483219. 
  15. ^ Hu-DeHart, Evelyn (2006). Voluntary organizations in the Chinese Diaspora. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 122–125. ISBN 9789622097766. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ Buddhist and Taoist Communities, Hong Kong Tourism Board.
  25. ^ General Information - Religion
  26. ^ Hong Kong Year Book (2006):Chapter 18 - Religion and Custom: Buddhism
  27. ^ Hong Kong Year Book (2006):Chapter 18 - Religion and Custom: Taoism
  28. ^ Hong Kong Year Book (2006):Chapter 18 - Religion and Custom: Confucianism
  29. ^ a b International Religious Freedom Report 2007 - Hong Kong
  30. ^ Hong Kong Year Book (2006):Chapter 18 - Religion and Custom: Christianity
  31. ^ LDS Newsroom - China — Hong Kong
  32. ^ "2007 Report of Jehovah's Witnesses Worldwide". Retrieved 2008-08-09. 

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