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					                                        University of Hong Kong
                            Department of Social Work & Social Administration
                                           BSW FT (2007-8)
                                       Social Policy and Planning

Lecture 4 Hong Kong Socio-demographic conditions and trends

Population characteristics – aging, low fertility ratio, raising life expectancy and dependency
ratio, immigrants, and ethnic minorities

Hong Kong has been a migrant society; there were several waves of migrants from mainly China
after WWII. The influx resulted in an average increase of 1 million in population size for each
decade. The various waves covered during the periods in which there were significant political
movements/events in the mainland – the Great Leap Forward (1959), Cultural Revolution (1966),
Open Door Policy (1978) and closer ties between HK and China which reflects in the one-way
permit quota system since the mid-nineties (on average, 150 per day).

                                           Hong Kong is an ageing society. It has the lowest fertility
80                                         rate in the world. By now, people aged 65 or above
                                           constitute 12.1% of the population. It will become 26.8%
                                           in 2033, which will be higher than that of Japan and
40                                         Germany. In 2004, a small percentage (around 7%) or
30                                         70,000 older persons aged 60 or above resided in China
20                                         (香港社會服務聯會, 2006)
 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001

Source: (Hong Kong Council for Sustainable Development, 2006, p.44)

According to 2006 by-census 404,073 persons or 6.4% of Hong Kong population were ethnic
minorities (C&SD, 2007). Among the ethnic minority population, Indians (4.4%), Nepalese (3.9%)
and Pakistanis/ Bangladesh /Sri Lankan (3.0%) constitute a significant proportion of persons
permanently residing in Hong Kong. The life expectancy of people at birth in Hong Kong ranks
fifth in the world, at 81.59 in 2006 (estimates). Life expectancy in the past has increased by 3
years in the past in every decade.

Source: (Hong Kong Council for Sustainable Development, 2006)

Life expectancy, the top and the bottom
    1 Andorra              83.51      222   Zimbabwe                 39.29
    2 Macau                82.19      223   Angola                   38.62
    3 San Marino           81.71      224   Lesotho                  34.40
    4 Singapore            81.71      225   Botswana                 33.74
    5 Hong Kong            81.59      226   Swaziland                32.62
    6 Japan                81.25
Source: CIA World Fact Book, 2006

The baby-boom in HK started also after WWII (1945) but reached its height in 10 years between
1956 and 1965. This cohort alone, which is 1.5 million in population size, constitutes more than
one-fifth of the population.

     (Hong Kong Council for Sustainable Development, 2006)

     (Hong Kong Council for Sustainable Development, 2006, p.44)

People coming from the mainland with the one-way permit have been mainly women (aged 25-49)
and children. Most of them came to Hong Kong for family reunion.

Source: (Hong Kong Council for Sustainable Development, 2006, p.46)

The dependency ratio is still low now and it will decrease in the coming years before it starts to
rise in 2010.

                                                                           Child and Elderly
                                                                           dependency ratios refer
                                                                           to the number of persons
                                                                           aged under 15 and those
                                                                           aged 65 and above
                                                                           respectively per 1 000
                                                                           persons aged between 15
                                                                           and 64. “Overall
                                                                           dependency ratio” refers
                                                                           to the sum of child and
                                                                           elderly dependency

                                                                        The demographic
                                                                        window is constructed by
                                                                        setting a cut-off for the
                                                                        overall dependency ratio.
If the cut-off point is 400, we will then have a demographic window from 1997 to 2019, between
which the overall dependency ratio is lower than 400.

The education attainment of people in HK is low in comparison with western standards. Only
about 12-13% of its population in 2005 are degree holders (if sub-degree level tertiary education
are included, the percentage reaches 18-20%).
In the EU-15, nearly 28% of 25-34 year olds had been educated to degree level in 2003, compared
to 16% of 55-64 year olds1.

(Hong Kong Council for Sustainable Development, 2006)

Economic conditions – Income per capita, Gini coefficient, upper and lower quartiles, median
income (individual and households), government revenue and expenditure

Measured by income per-capita (Purchasing Power Parity, PPP), HK ranks 15th in the world
(US$32,900), highest in Asia in 2005. Japan ranks 20th, and Singapore 31st, and China 117th
(6,800). In terms of disparity in income distribution among households (measured by Gini
coefficient), Hong Kong fares among the worst in the developed economies (probably, that’s the
result of capitalism without much democracy).

                                                                                   0. 525   香港 ( 2001)
                                                                          0. 447            中國 ( 2001)
                                                                       0. 425               新加坡( 1998)
                                                                      0. 408
                                                                                            美國( 2000)
                                                                 0. 360
                                                                                            英國( 1999)
                                                             0. 331
                                                             0. 326                         加拿大( 1998)
                                                            0. 316                          台灣( 2000)
                                                        0. 283                              南韓( 1998)
                                                                                            德國( 2000)

                                   資料來源:         ,立法會秘書處資料便覽,2004
                                   年 12 月 6 日。

Source: The Economist

    EU Green Paper 2005, “Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations”

Comparing Gini Coefficient between Hong Kong and other countries
                                 Gini Coefficient based on
            Original HH income Post-tax HH              Post-tax Post-social
                                      income            transfer HH income
Hong Kong           .533                .521                    .475
Canada              .510                                        .393
UK                  .510                .360
USA                 .450                                        .418
Australia                               .294
Note: All Hong Kong figures are in 2006, the rest based on statistics available between 2003 and 2005.
Source: Consolidated from Census & Statistics Department (006). 2006 Population By-census: Thematic
Report: Household Income Distribution in Hong Kong, p.109-110.

Source: Commission on Poverty, HKSAR (2007). Report of the Commission on Poverty, p.13

If we take less than half the median income as the indicator for households living at risk of poverty,
by 2001, Sham Shui Po was the district with the highest percentage of poor households, while
Kwun Tong has the greatest number.

There are some other forms of exclusion in the information society. In general, people in older
age and people with lower education attainment benefits least from information society and the
new knowledge economy.

Comprehensive digital inclusion index
 Sub-indexes Older        New     Single      Female          Children PWD/CI      All
                    people arrivals parents homemakers          (low          disadvantaged
                                                              income)            persons
                    0.50     0.70      0.71        0.75         0.72      0.53          0.62
    Usage           0.04     0.50      0.19        0.06         0.88      0.17          0.26
    Knowledge       0.04     0.52      0.41        0.05         0.92      0.14          0.26
    Affordability   0.50     0.71      0.48        0.62         0.00      0.54          0.52
           CDII     0.27     0.61      0.45        0.37         0.63      0.35          0.41

Unemployment rate was lowered to 3.4% (the 4th quarter of 2007), down from 7.9% in 2003)

Source: Budget 2006, HKSAR

Female labor force participation is high among the younger age cohort (25-29, 86.2%; 30-34,
79.3%) but is low among those aged 40 or above (66.6%) comparing to other developed societies.
The overall labor force participation rate (for those age 15 and above) is 51.8 for female but 71.0
for male2.

                                                                             (Hong Kong Council for
                                                                             Development, 2006)

    Census & Statistics Department, HKSAR (2006). Women and men in Hong Kong: Key statistics, p. 54.
       Source: Census & Statistics Department (2006). Women and men in Hong Kong: Key
       statistics, p. 54.

Similar to other developed societies, traditional form of family has become increasingly unstable
and its function of providing support and care to its members has eroded.

                                                                 Note: the figure of divorce decree in
                                                                 2005 and 2006 were 14873, 17424.
                                                                 The ratio of divorces to marriages
                                                                 were both 34.63 Crude marriage rate
                                                                 refers to the number of marriages
                                                                 registered in a calendar year per
                                                                 thousand mid-year population of that
                                                                 year. Divorce rate: Number of
divorces per 100 new marriages in the corresponding year.

                                                                      Source: (Organization for Economic
                                                                      Co-operation and Development., 2005)

Around 5% of the households with children are lone parent households in 2005. The percentage in
EU-15 countries was 9 in 2001. There is a more than 10% of children did not live with their

    Census & Statistics Department, HKSAR (2007) Demographic Trends: 1981-2006, p.66
     Note: Children are those aged under 15

There are more marriages involving a spouse from the mainland. Of the 50,000+ marriages in
2005, More than half involves a spouse from Mainland China.

Marriages in 2005
                                     Local Women            Mainland Women
Local Men                               21,000                   24,900**
Mainland Men                            4,900*                       -
Source: Hong Kong monthly digest of statistics April 2006
  It is more than double the figure in 2002; ** It represents an increase of 40% from 2002.

Births in Hong Kong
In 2006, the total number of live births is 65626 (4p.17).In recent years, there has been an increase
in the number of births born in Hong Kong to Mainland women, from 7 810 in 2001 to 26 132 in
2006. Among them, births born in Hong Kong to Mainland women whose spouses are Hong Kong
Permanent Residents increased from 7 190 in 2001 to 9 438 in 2006 (p.32)

Marriages in Hong Kong are characterized also by the rise in late marriages, and in the number of
never married persons5.

  Census & Statistics Department, HKSAR (2007). Demographic trends in Hong Kong: 1981-2006. Hong
Kong: Author.
  Ditto (p.60)
(Hong Kong (China). Census and Statistics Dept., 2005, p.128)

Unmarried women aged between 20 and 49 are having higher level of education. The median age
of first marriage for men is 30.2 and women, 27.5. Marital gradient is still prevalent – 98% male
married with a women with equal or lower level of education (Hong Kong Monthly Digest of
Statistics, April 2006).

According to EMB, 4,498 school children have to attend school across border representing an
increase of 30% from 2001-02. On the other hand, 19.2% or (10,395 in number) of the new born
babies in Hong Kong were born to mothers living in Mainland China (their father are Hong Kong
citizens). 6629 (or 16.9%) of the single parents CSSA recipients were actually having spouse
living across the border.

Source: Thematic Household Survey Report No.14, 2003 August

Source: (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development., 2005)


Hong Kong (China). Census and Statistics Dept. (2002). 2001 population census. Thematic report :
       ethnic minorities. Hong Kong: Census and Statistics Department.
Hong Kong (China). Census and Statistics Dept. (2005). Women and men in Hong Kong key
       statistics 2005 edition. Hong Kong: Author.
Hong Kong Council for Sustainable Development. (2006). Ehancing population potential for a
       sustainable future - Invitation and response docuemnt for the second engagement process
       (June 2006). Retrieved. from
Census and Statistics Dept., HKSAR (2007) 2006 Population by-census: Summary result. Hong
       Kong: Author.
Hong Kong Housing Authority. (2006). Consultation Paper on the review of domestic rent policy.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2005). Society at a glance : OECD
       social indicators 2005 edition (pp. v.). Paris: OECD.
香港社會服務聯會. (2006). 香港願景 2012: 邁向可持續和共融的社會 - 對第三屆香港特別
       行政區行政長官候選人政綱的期望. Retrieved Oct 10, 2006, from