Hong Kong Population Projections 2015-2064 (with photo/video)

     Hong Kong's population is projected to grow until reaching a peak of 8.22 million in 2043 and then decline to 7.81 million by 2064 according to an updated set of population projections released by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) today (September 25).

     "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 Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr Leslie Tang, said.

     In the updated set of projections, the projection period is extended from 30 years to 50 years to better discern the trends and profile of the future population. However, extending the projection period also increases the uncertainty of the projection results. Making reference to the practice of other advanced economies, apart from the baseline population projections, two additional projection scenarios, namely high and low population projections, have been compiled for reference. While projections under the baseline scenario are based on assumptions that are considered most likely to be realised at the time of compilation, the two additional 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 7.24 million in mid-2014 to a peak of 8.22 million in mid-2043, and then decline to 7.81 million by mid-2064. The average annual growth rate over the entire projection period is projected to be 0.2 per cent. From mid-2014 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 the rate of 0.2 per cent per annum from mid-2043 to mid-2064.

     Over the entire period from mid-2014 to mid-2064, the overall population is projected to increase by 0.57 million. There would be a natural decrease (i.e. deaths less births) of 1.27 million and a net movement (i.e. inflow less outflow) of 1.84 million.

     Within the Hong Kong Resident Population, the number of Usual Residents is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 0.2 per cent, from 7.03 million in mid-2014 to 7.61 million in mid-2064, while the number of Mobile Residents will decrease from 216 000 to 202 300, an average annual rate of decline of 0.1 per cent.

     "Broadly speaking, Hong Kong's fertility showed a declining trend over the past two decades. 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. It decreased from 1 355 live births per 1 000 women in 1994 to a historical low of 901 in 2003. It rebounded in recent years and reached 1 234 in 2014. In the fertility projections, reference is made to various factors, including the proportion of ever married women, marital fertility rates and births born in Hong Kong to Mainland women. The total fertility rate is projected to decrease gradually from 1 234 live births per 1 000 women in 2014 to 1 182 in 2064," Mr Tang said.

     Hong Kong experienced a continuous decline in mortality rate from 1994 to 2014, leading to an increase in life expectancy. In 2014, the expectation of life at birth was 81.2 years for males and 86.9 years for females. Compared with other economies, Hong Kong enjoys a very low mortality rate. In 2064, the expectation of life at birth is projected to increase to 87.0 years for males and 92.5 years for females. The number of deaths is projected to increase from about 45 400 per year at the beginning of the projection period to about 97 600 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.

     It is projected that 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 a One-Way Permit (OWP). Taking into account the inflow of OWP holders in recent years, the C&SD has adopted a daily inflow of 100 OWP holders (as compared to 150 in the last round of projection), 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 on the Mainland) to come to Hong Kong for family reunion.

     "Population ageing is expected to continue. Excluding foreign domestic helpers, the proportion of elderly persons aged 65 and over is projected to rise markedly, from 15 per cent in 2014 to 36 per cent in 2064. Population ageing is expected to be most rapid in the coming 20 years with the proportion of over 65s reaching 23 per cent in 2024 and 30 per cent in 2034. This is mainly attributable to the post-war baby boomers entering old age. Towards the end of the projection period, the proportion of the elderly will stabilise as the baby boomers gradually pass away. Meanwhile, the proportion of the population aged under 15 is projected to decrease gradually from 12 per cent in 2014 to nine per cent in 2064," Mr Tang 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. The ratio is projected to rise continuously from 371 in 2014 to 831 in 2064," Mr Tang added.

     The ageing trend is also revealed by the increasing median age of the population, which will rise from 43.7 in 2014 to 50.0 in 2034, and further to 53.5 in 2064 (excluding foreign domestic helpers).

     The sex ratio (i.e. the number of males per 1 000 females, excluding foreign domestic helpers) of the population is projected to fall noticeably, from 935 in 2014 to 862 in 2034 and 783 in 2064. 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 on 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 increase slightly from 3.60 million in 2014 to 3.65 million in 2018, and then decrease to 3.43 million in 2031. The labour force is then projected to hover between 3.42 million and 3.43 million until 2038, before decreasing to 3.11 million in 2064.

     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 59.3 per cent in 2014 to 48.6 per cent in 2064.

     Based on the updated domestic household projections, the number of households will increase from 2.43 million in 2014 to a peak of 2.93 million in 2044. This represents an increase of around 0.5 million households in the next 30 years. After that, the number of households will slowly decrease to 2.91 million in 2049.

     The average household size is projected to decrease continuously, from 2.9 persons per household in 2014 to 2.7 persons in 2049.

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

     A publication entitled "Hong Kong Population Projections 2015-2064" on the detailed projection results, along with the projection methodology and assumptions, is now available.

     Another publication "Hong Kong Life Tables 2009-2064" 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.

     Users can download the above publications free of charge at the C&SD website (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/srh/index.jsp).

     Projected figures on labour force and households can also be downloaded free of charge at the C&SD website (www.censtatd.gov.hk/media_workers_corner/pc_rm/hkpp2015_2064/index.jsp).

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

Ends/Friday, September 25, 2015
Issued at HKT 14:31