The provisional figure for the population of
Hong Kong at the end of 2004 was 6 895 500, up 0.7 per cent over
a year earlier. This was due to 11 300 more births than deaths
and a net inflow of 38 800 residents. Over the period 1999-2004,
the average annual growth rate of the population was 0.8 per cent.
In 2004, the birth rate1 was estimated
at seven per 1 000, lower than that of eight per 1 000 in 1999.
Yet, the death rate held stable at about five per 1 000. Consequently,
the rate of natural increase dropped from three to two per 1 000
over the same period.
Ageing of the population has continued. While
the proportion of the people aged under 15 fell from 17 per cent
in 1999 to 15 per cent in 2004, the proportion of people aged 65
and over rose from 11 per cent to 12 per cent. Correspondingly,
the median age of the population rose from 36 to 39 over the same
The age composition of the population can be reflected
from the dependency ratio. The ratio of people aged under 15 and
aged 65 and over to the population of working age (aged 15-64),
i.e. the overall dependency ratio, dropped from 393 per 1 000
in 1999 to 370 per 1 000 in 2004. This was attributable to
a decline in the proportion of young persons aged under 15, which
more than offset an increase in the proportion of older persons
aged 65 and over in the same period.
The Task Force on Population Policy, chaired by
the Chief Secretary for Administration, was established in 2002
to oversee the development of a comprehensive population policy
designed to fit Hong Kong's long-term social and economic development,
complement family requirements, and address the interests of different
sectors of the community. The Task Force published its report on
February 26, 20032 and is currently conducting research
to lay the groundwork for the continuation, enhancement or review
of policies in several areas such as portability and eligibility
of public benefits, retirement, admission of professionals and talents,
and measures for encouraging childbirth.