Hong Kong’s youth population is decreasing, according to statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department. Young people in the city are also studying more, and starting work later, than they were 10 years ago.
The statistics were released on Monday as part of the government’s 2016 Population By-census Thematic Report on Youths.
The report provides insight into the characteristics of young Hongkongers aged 15-24. It included information on the number of young people in Hong Kong, as well as data on their gender, education, employment, and housing conditions.
According to the report, the number of young people in the city aged 15 to 24 has fallen from 880,175 in 2006 to 776,709 in 2016, with the youth population falling by an average of 0.9 per cent every year. Of that number, the vast majority were Chinese, who made up 96.4 per cent of the youth population. Only 1.4 per cent of young people identified themselves as South Asian, and 0.5 per cent as Caucasian.
More young people now are also attending further education beyond secondary school than 10 years ago. Around 51 per cent of the youth population in 2016 were going, at, or had been to university or other forms of post-secondary education, compared to just 31 per cent in 2006.
The Census and Statistics Department suggested that an increase in further education opportunities, and a smaller youth population overall, means the number of young people in work has decreased by around 17 per cent. Further education means young people often enter the workforce at an older age. The median monthly income for those working also increased, from HK$7,000 in 2006 to HK$10,750 in 2016, although this was still around HK$4,750 less than the overall population.
Many Hong Kong young people can also speak more than one language, with 62.2 per cent of the young population being trilingual – meaning they can speak Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. In terms of English proficiency, 96.4 per cent of respondents reported they could read English, while 94.9 per cent were able to write the language.
A Census and Statistics Department spokesman explained to Young Post that a full census is conducted every 10 years to obtain information about the population of Hong Kong, but a by-census occurs every five years: “The manpower required for a census is quite large, so in the middle we conduct a by-census to update the data.” he said. “The sample size of the [by-census] is large enough to conduct detailed analysis on the overall situation in Hong Kong.”