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Census & Statistics

The Census & Statistics Department provides adequate, relevant, reliable and timely statistics to facilitate research, discussion, planning and decision making within the government and in the community.

Statistics department progresses with the times

October 10, 2010

The Census & Statistics Department was set up in 1967, marking the launch of official statistics in Hong Kong. After the post-war baby boom and the influx of Mainland migrants, Hong Kong experienced a dramatic increase in population and rapid economic growth in the 1960s and 1970s.


The major pre-occupation for the department at that time was undoubtedly the 1971 population census. In the same year, a census of manufacturing establishments, the first of its kind, was also taken.


In the 1970s, the department developed a programme of economic surveys and also conducted the labour force survey, which laid a strong foundation for the official statistical system.


Alvin Li, who joined the department in 1980 and is now an assistant commissioner, has witnessed the continuous progress of official statistics in the past 30 years, including the substantial changes brought about by technological development in data-collection work.


He said: "In the past, personal interviews and self-administered postal questionnaires were the main modes to collect data. To improve efficiency and be in line with the latest technological developments, computer-assisted telephone interviewing was introduced in the quarterly survey of employment and vacancies to collect data for the first time in 1990.


"Computer-assisted telephone interviewing is widely adopted to collect data in surveys. The use of electronic questionnaires is also actively promoted in recent years. In the 2011 population census, there will be a new online system to provide more user-friendly electronic questionnaires for the public."


Mr Li said that information technology has also changed the way of disseminating data.


The department was among the first to set up its own website, which is continuously enriched  with content and enhanced features.


Since 2006, it has been distributing new feeds on website updates to subscribers. An e-mail notification service was also launched in 2007, to allow registered users to sign up for email updates of selected statistical subjects.


Its website is one of the top-10 most popular government websites.