....... Divertimento: Hong Kong Census 2011

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Hong Kong Census 2011

The Census and Statistics Department has issued a press release of the population census conducted in 2011. Detailed results will be published in the coming months. So what’s changed since the previous population census in 2001?

The Hong Kong population has increased from 6.71 million people in 2001 to 7.07 million in 2011. During this time, the median age of the population rose from 36.7 years to 41.7 years. And the forecast is that the population will continue to age, with the median age in 2039 predicted to be 47.6 years. In my blog post of August 4th 2011, I pointed out the disparity between the ratio of males to females. Well, to update:

Census Year20012011
Sex Ratio (males per 1,000 females)960876
Never married (male, age over 20)27.8%28.1%
Never married (male, age 20-49 years)39.3%46.8%
Never married (female, age over 20)24.4%25.4%
Never married (female, age 20-49 years)34%38.9%

So, how is it that there are so many single people in Hong Kong? Is it time for some Singapore style government sponsored match making? Yet, interestingly, we constantly read in the press about the need for more private schools, the lack of maternity beds etc etc. Also, where are the guys? As pointed out in my August blog post, the number of female foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong contributes to the disparity between males and females. The press release did not offer any explanation as to increased disparity. Has there been a marked increase of foreign domestic helpers or foreign brides or has there been an exodus of men? Looking at the statistics, there has been an increase in the proportion of never married men which tends to counter the argument about foreign brides…

Are Hong Kong men and women too choosy? Or are they choosing not to formalize their relationships with a marriage certificate?

Another interesting statistic I found was the median monthly income from main employment of the working population which was $11,000 in 2011, representing an increase of 10% in the past 10 years. From my personal experience in the last few years, this seems a small wage rise -especially given the recent announcement that in the 12 months ended January 2012, the CPI was on average 5.5% higher than the preceding 12 months. So I looked around for some more information.

The CPI index in 2001 was 94.9 and in 2011, the CPI index was 106. This implies that on average, consumer prices have risen 11.69% in the 10 year period. This was lower than what I had guessed, then I realised that a significant portion of CPI is attributable to the cost of housing which has been on a roller coaster since 1996 (remember how prices tumbled during SARs?). For guidance, I turned to the Census and Statistics Department’s 5 yearly Household Expenditure Survey. Apparently, in 2010, Hong Kong households spent an average of 28.2% to 33.3% of household income on housing. In New Zealand, it is 16% and in Japan, 6.5%. Eat your heart out!

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