Hong Kong population projections for 2017-2066 released

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Hong Kong's population is projected to grow until reaching a peak of 8.22 million in 2043 and then decline to 7.72 million by 2066 according to an updated set of population projections released by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) today (September 8).

     "Population projections provide a common basis for the Government in planning public services and facilities. They are regularly updated to take account of information on the latest developments of the population. The latest projection results suggest that population ageing will continue, and is expected to be most rapid in the coming 20 years.

Society should get prepared for this demographic challenge," the Deputy Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Ms Marion Chan, said.

     With the availability of up-to-date benchmark population data from the 2016 Population By-census, the Census and Statistics Department has prepared a new set of population projections covering the 50-year period from 2017 to 2066, with the mid-2016 population as the base. The updated set of projections has made use of the most up-to-date information on fertility, mortality and movement patterns of the population which has emerged since the last set of population projections was produced. Apart from the baseline population projections, high and low population projections have been compiled for reference.

While projections underthe baseline projection scenario are based on assumptions that are considered most likely to be realised at the time of compilation, the two additional projection scenarios explore possible outcomes under alternative assumptions on fertility, mortality and movement.

     Under the baseline population projections, the Hong Kong Resident Population is projected to increase from 7.34 million in mid-2016 to a peak of 8.22 million in mid-2043, and then decline to 7.72 million by mid-2066. The average annual growth rate over the entire projection period is projected to be 0.1 per cent. From mid-2016 to mid-2043, the population is projected to grow at a rate of 0.4 per cent per annum.

Yet, with a significant increase in the number of deaths due to an ageing population, coupled with a decrease in the number of births, the population is projected to decrease at a rate of 0.3 per cent per annum from mid-2043 to mid-2066.

     Over the entire period from mid-2016 to mid-2066, the overall population is projected to increase by 390 000. There would be a natural decrease (i.e. deaths less births) of 1.49 million and a net movement (i.e.

inflow less outflow) of 1.88 million.

     Within the Hong Kong Resident Population, the number of Usual Residents is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 0.1 per cent, from 7.12 million in mid-2016 to 7.52 million in mid-2066, while the number of Mobile Residents will decrease from 219 800 to 201 100, at an average annual rate of decline of 0.2 per cent.

     The total fertility rate of Hong Kong, which is the number of children born alive to 1 000 women during their lifetime, has been consistently below the replacement level of 2 100 over the past two decades. It decreased from 1 191 live births per 1 000 women in 1996 to a historical low of 901 in 2003. The total fertility rate rebounded in recent years and reached 1 205 in 2016.

In the fertility projections, reference is made to various factors, including the proportion of ever married women, age-specific marital fertility rates and births born in Hong Kong to women from the Mainland of China. The total fertility rate is projected to decrease gradually from 1 205 live births per 1 000 women in 2016 to 1 166 in 2066.

     Hong Kong has experienced a continuous decline in the mortality rate during 1996 to 2016, leading to an increase in life expectancy. In 2016, the expectation of life at birth was 81.3 years for males and 87.3 years for females.

Compared with other economies, Hong Kong enjoys a very low mortality rate. In 2066, the expectation of life at birth is projected to increase to 87.1 years for males and 93.1 years for females. The number of deaths is projected to increase from about 46 700 per year at the beginning of the projection period to about 98 000 per year at the end of the projection period.

The increase in the number of deaths is mainly attributable to the growing proportion of older persons in the population despite a longer life expectancy.

     There will be a continuous net inflow of persons into the Hong Kong population over the entire projection period. A major component of the net movement of the population is holders of the One-Way Permit (OWP). Taking into account the trend of OWP holders coming to Hong Kong in recent years, the C&SD has adopted a daily inflow of 100 OWP holders (or 36 500 OWP holders per year) as the long-term assumption.

     A government spokesman noted that the Mainland authorities have no plan to revise the existing daily OWP quota of 150.

The OWP scheme continues to enable the orderly entry of eligible persons (predominantly separated spouses and their children born in the Mainland) to come to Hong Kong for family reunion.

     "Population ageing is expected to continue. With post-war baby boomers entering old age, the number of elderly persons aged 65 and over is projected to more than double in the coming 20 years. Excluding foreign domestic helpers, the number of elderly persons will increase from 1.16 million (16.6 per cent of the total population) in 2016 by over 1 million to 2.37 million (31.1 per cent) in 2036.

Compared with the growth of about 500 000 in the last 20 years (from 1996 to 2016), the elderly population will increase distinctly at a much faster pace in the future. It is also worth noting that the elderly population will remain at over 2.3 million for at least 30 years. In 2066, the number of elderly persons is projected to reach 2.59 million (36.6 per cent).

Meanwhile, due to the persistently low fertility rate, the proportion of the population aged under 15 is projected to decrease gradually from 11.8 per cent in 2016 to 9.2 per cent in 2066," Ms Chan said.

     "The phenomenon of population ageing can also be further analysed based on the dependency ratio. This is a demographic indicator reflecting the age composition of the population. It is defined as the number of persons aged under 15 and 65 and over per 1 000 persons aged 15 to 64.

Excluding foreign domestic helpers, the ratio is projected to rise from 397 in 2016 to 844 in 2066," Ms Chan added.

     The ageing trend is also revealed by the increasing median age of the population, which will rise from 44.3 in 2016 to 50.9 in 2036, and further to 54.5 in 2066 (excluding foreign domestic helpers).

     Excluding foreign domestic helpers, the sex ratio (i.e. the number of males per 1 000 females) of the population is projected to fall noticeably, from 925 in 2016 to 862 in 2036 and 800 in 2066. Variations in the sex ratio by age group are expected.

For the population aged under 25, the sex ratio will be higher, i.e. more males than females. For the age group 25 to 44, the sex ratio will be lower mainly due to entry of OWP holders, many being Hong Kong men's wives in the Mainland.

     The projected size and characteristics of the population for selected years are presented in Tables 1 and 2, while the components of population growth are analysed in Table 3.

The population under the high and low projection scenarios is presented in Table 4.

     The "component method", which is commonly used internationally, was adopted for compiling the population projections. Under this method, the population of a base period is brought forward by age and sex under separate projections of fertility, mortality and movement, year after year until the end of the projection period.

     The C&SD has also updated the labour force projections and household projections with the availability of the latest population projections.

     Based on the updated labour force projections, the total labour force (excluding foreign domestic helpers) is projected to rise from 3.62 million in 2016 to reach a plateau in 2019 to 2022 at 3.67 million to 3.68 million, and then decrease to 3.51 million in 2031. It will then hover between 3.49 million and 3.51 million until 2038, before decreasing to 3.13 million in 2066.

     The overall labour force participation rate (i.e.

the proportion of the labour force in the population aged 15 and over) is projected to decrease from 59.2 per cent in 2016 to 49.6 per cent in 2066.

     Based on the updated domestic household projections, the number of households will increase from 2.51 million in 2016 to a peak of 2.97 million in 2046. This represents an increase of 460 000 households in the next 30 years. After that, the number of households will slowly decrease to 2.95 million in 2051.

     The average household size is projected to decrease continuously, from 2.8 persons per household in 2016 to 2.7 persons in 2051.

     Tables 5 and 6 present the updated labour force projections and domestic household projections respectively.

     A publication entitled "Hong Kong Population Projections 2017-2066" on the detailed projection results, along with the projection methodology and assumptions, is now available.

     Another publication entitled "Hong Kong Life Tables 2011-2066" has also been published.

It describes the present and future mortality conditions of Hong Kong in the form of life tables and the method of constructing a life table.

     The above publications and the projected figures on labour force and households can be downloaded free of charge at the C&SD website (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/media_workers_corner/pc_rm/hkpp2017_2066/index.jsp" target="_blank">www.censtatd.gov.hk/media_workers_corner/pc_rm/hkpp2017_2066/index.jsp).

     Enquiries about more detailed statistics can be directed to the Demographic Statistics Section (1) of the C&SD (Tel: 3903 6943, or email: population@censtatd.gov.hk).

Published on: 2017-09-08

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