Demographics of Hong Kong
The population of Hong Kong increased steadily over the last decade of the 1990s, reaching about 7.1 million by 2000. 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 population density with respect to built-up areas would be even higher, as only a small proportion of land is developed. Despite the population density, Hong Kong is reported to be one of the greenest cities in Asia, with the majority of people living in apartments in high-rise buildings, and most land reserved for open spaces, country parks, and woodland. The vertical placement of the population explains why the general description of Hong Kong as a densely populated, green city is not an oxymoron.
- 7,500 (census in 1841 est.)
- 849,800 (census 1931)
- 750,000 (1945)
- 6,900,000 (2003, UN)
0-14 years: 18% (male 676,756; female 602,434)
15-64 years: 71% (male 2,520,473; female 2,563,355)
65 years and over: 11% (male 342,942; female 410,342) (2000 est.)
Average age: 34
Population growth rate: 1.35% (2000 est.)
Birth rate: 11.29 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Death rate: 5.93 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Net migration rate: 8.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
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: 0.99 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
Average marriage age:
Infant mortality rate: 5.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.54 years
male: 76.85 years
female: 82.41 years (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.27 children born/woman (2000 est.)
residents are called Hongkongers
Ethnic groups: Chinese 95%, other 5%
- Main article: Vietnamese people in Hong Kong
The Vietnam War led to Vietnamese people fleeing to countries in Southeast Asia and around the South China Sea. Then, in 1979, Vietnam was at war with China and many ethnic Chinese living in Vietnam who felt that the government's policies directly targeted them became boat people themselves. On the open seas, the boat people had to confront forces of nature and elude pirates. The plight of the boat people became a humanitarian crisis and the UN High Commission for Refugees set up refugee camps in neighbouring countries to process them. Hong Kong adopted the "port of first asylum policy", and received the largest number of refugees, with many refugee camps being established in its territories.
- Main article: Religion in Hong Kong
Religion plays an important role in the culture of Hong Kong. Religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents. It is protected by the Basic Law and the relevant legislation. There are a large variety of religious groups in the Hong Kong, including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. All of these groups have a considerable number of adherents. Apart from offering religious instructions, many major religious bodies have established schools and provided social welfare facilities.
There are five major festivals in the Chinese calendar, with the Lunar New Year being the most important. Gifts and visits are exchanged among friends and relatives and children receive lai see, or ‘lucky money’. During the Ching Ming Festival in spring, ancestral graves are visited. In early summer (fifth day of the fifth lunar month), the Tuen Ng Festival is celebrated with dragon boat races and by eating cooked glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Gifts of mooncakes, wine and fruit are exchanged and adults and children go into parks and the countryside at night with colourful lanterns. Chung Yeung is on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, when many visit their ancestors’ graves or hike up mountains in remembrance of an ancient Chinese family’s escape from plague and death by fleeing to a mountain top.
- Main article: Languages of Hong Kong
Both Chinese and English are official languages. Most Hong Kongers speak Cantonese, specifically the dialect originated from the areas around present-day Guangzhou. There are also speakers of other Chinese spoken variants like Toisanese, Teochiu and Hakka. Although Cantonese is widely spoken in Hong Kong, Mandarin is the official spoken Chinese variant throughout China. The number of Mandarin learners in Hong Kong had not been large before the handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1997. Some older people in Hong Kong, especially those living in walled and fishing villages, speak what are collectively called Waitau wah (圍頭話, lit. language used in walled village).
For written Chinese, unlike mainland China, where simplified Chinese characters are used, traditional Chinese characters are widely used, and is the de facto writing standard. But owing to the increasing number of tourists from mainland China, simplified Chinese characters are now more frequently used in Hong Kong. Simplified Chinese characters can be frequently found on posters, leaflets, flyers and road signs in the tourist areas in Hong Kong.
English is the major working language in Hong Kong, and is widely used in commercial activities and legal matters. Albeit the sovereignty of Hong Kong has been transfered to the PRC by the United Kingdom in 1997, English is still one of the official languages of the Hong Kong, and its official status is enshrined in the Basic Law.
Many Hong Kongers are literally bilingual when they speak, as their speech comprises both Cantonese and English. Usually the syntax of their discourse is Cantonese, while filled up with English words and phrases. Some people regard such a way of speaking mere affectation. Others confess that is the only way they can make themselves understood. The hybridization of Cantonese and English are often criticized as "neither Chinese nor English", and the Cantonese speakers that incorporate too much English in Cantonese are regarded by people with opposite views as "language-handicapped."
- Main article: Education in Hong Kong
Education in Hong Kong has a similar system to that of the United Kingdom, in particular the English education system, as Hong Kong was colonised by the British from 1841 to 1997. Following the introduction of the comprehensive school system in the 1960's in the UK, children in Hong Kong transformed from the old education system of entering a 'first' school (4 years) followed by a 'secondary-middle' school (4 years), then a 'secondary-high' school (3 + 2 years) to the 'new' education system of primary school (6 years) followed by secondary school (5 + 2 years). The trend of late has been to replace 'first' schools with primary schools and accordingly, 'secondary-middle' and 'secondary-high' schools with fully-fledged secondary schools.
In Hong Kong there is a non-compulsory three-year kindergarten education followed by a legal requirement of a six-year primary education and three-year junior secondary education. It is then followed by a non-compulsory two-year senior secondary education and two-year matriculation course leading to the Advanced Level examinations. There are also tertiary institutions offering various bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, other higher diplomas and associate degree courses.
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 92.2%
female: 88.2% (1996 est.)
- Hong Kong Population History
- Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department — Hong Kong statistics page (eg. see "Hong Kong in Figures")