Hong Kong’s annual population census began on Wednesday with a focus on measuring the growing proportion of older people in the city.
A data subject newly added to the 2021 census asks respondents about the number of elderly people in need of care in a household, in order to measure the demand for care services and personnel.
âThis new data topic will help analyze the different demands for elderly care services in each district. It will also be useful for future government policy making and planning, âsaid Marion Chan Shui-yu, Commissioner of Census and Statistics.
Do you have questions on the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new curated content platform with explanations, FAQs, analysis and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.
The survey as a whole would also provide insight into other population needs, such as education services and social housing, she said.
Begun in 1961, the census is taken every 10 years, with a partial census every five years.
The last partial census by the Census and Statistics Department in mid-2016 found that that year the number of Hong Kong people aged 80 and over had increased by 67% to more than 340,000 people, signaling a population aging.
About 3 million households are expected to participate in the survey, which will run from June 23 to August 4.
Chan said 90 percent would be required to complete an abbreviated questionnaire, which aimed to collect basic demographic information about household members, such as their age, occupation and level of education. The survey would take approximately 10 minutes to complete and could be submitted online, by phone or by mail.
The remaining 10 percent will respond to a comprehensive data survey, which collects information on the socio-economic characteristics of households.
Hong Kong population decline warning as deaths exceed births for the first time
The longer survey will take around 30 to 40 minutes, and households have the option of responding online, by phone, or by making an appointment with census officials to conduct an in-person interview at home.
The census will take place in two phases and respondents will be able to submit the survey from Wednesday to July 17.
For those who do not complete the questionnaires, some 7,000 temporary enumerators will be going door-to-door to collect information, starting July 18.
When asked if the ministry would face any problems with data collection given that trust in the government had waned, Chan stressed that the answer was a legal requirement.
If a household refuses or gives false information, it can be jailed for six months and fined up to HK $ 5,000.
The Census and Statistics Department has a budget of HK $ 950 million to conduct the 2021 census and is expected to employ 7,000 field officers, up from 16,000 in 2011.
Chan said the department has encouraged households to submit questionnaires online, by phone or by mail to reduce person-to-person contact due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Members of the public can call the census hotline at 182021 for information.
For the latest news from the South China Morning Post, download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.