People wearing winter coats and scarves walk on a street in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, on Jan 8, 2021. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong's fertility showed a declining trend over the past 30 years, according to data published by the Census and Statistics Department on Thursday.
The city’s total fertility rate decreased from 1,281 live births per 1,000 women in 1991 to 901 in 2003. It then rebounded to 1,285 in 2012, before declining gradually to 1,064 in 2019, and further decreased to 772 in 2021, the department said.
The population of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region increased at an average annual growth rate of 0.8 percent in the past 3 decades, from 5.75 million in 1991 to 7.41 million in 2021
It said Hong Kong’s population showed a continuing ageing trend, with the median age of the population rising from 31.6 in 1991 to 46.3 in 2021.
This is due to the declining fertility and the continuous improvement in mortality experienced in the last 30 years, the department said.
It said the population of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region increased at an average annual growth rate of 0.8 percent in the past 3 decades, from 5.75 million in 1991 to 7.41 million in 2021.
The city also experienced a continuous decline in mortality during 1991–2021, leading to an increase in life expectancy, the department said.
The life expectancy at birth for males increased from 75.2 years in 1991 to 83.2 years in 2021. For females, it increased from 80.7 years to 87.9 years during the same period.
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As for the trends in marriage, delay in marriage prevailed. In 2021, the median age at first marriage was 32.2 for bridegrooms and 30.6 for brides. In 1991, the corresponding median ages were 29.1 and 26.2, respectively.
There was also a rising trend of brides being Hong Kong women and bridegrooms being Chinese mainland men in mainland-HKSAR cross-boundary marriages. The proportion of such marriages in all cross-boundary marriages increased from 6.1 percent in 1991 to 35.8 percent in 2019, the department said.
Though the overall number of cross-boundary marriages dropped substantially due to the border control and quarantine measures in place in HKSAR and the mainland amid the pandemic, the proportion still stood at 32 percent in 2021, it added.
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The department also said that the number of divorce decrees granted increased significantly from 6,295 in 1991 to 16,692 in 2021.