2006 Population By-census to begin on July 15

The 2006 Population By-census will be conducted from next Saturday (July 15) to August 1. The Commissioner for Census and Statistics, Mr Fung Hing-wang, announced details of the by-census operation at a press conference today (July 6).

The purpose of the by-census is to obtain up-to-date benchmark information on the size and socio-economic characteristics of the population and on its geographical distribution.

"Statistics compiled from the information collected in the by-census are vital to government planning and policy formulation, particularly in such fields as education, housing, transport, medical and social services. The data are also important to the private sector in formulating business strategies," Mr Fung said.

"A by-census differs from a census in that the former does not have a complete head count of the population, but collects detailed information on the population from a sample, based on which the size and the characteristics of the entire population are estimated. It differs from other sample surveys in that it has a much larger sample size, so that it can provide reliable population data on small geographical areas for local planning, and data on population sub-groups for the planning of government services for such groups," Mr Fung explained.

The 2006 Population By-census is conducted under section nine of the Census and Statistics Ordinance. Under this ordinance, specified persons are obliged to provide the required information.

The entire population of Hong Kong, including the land population and the marine population, will be covered in the by-census. Persons living in some special types of quarters, such as infirmaries, will also be covered.

About one-tenth of all quarters in Hong Kong have been selected according to a probability sampling scheme for enumerating all households living therein. During the by-census operation period, census officers will visit the sampled households and members therein will be asked about their particulars, such as year and month of birth, marital status, educational attainment and employment details.

The Census and Statistics Department will issue letters to all sampled households tomorrow (July 7) to inform them of the 2006 Population By-census and the name of the visiting census officer.

Household visits will usually be carried out from 1pm to 10pm on Mondays to Saturdays and from 10am to 10pm on Sundays during the 18-day operation period. Households can make appointment for the visits using the Appointment Request Service on the Internet (http://www.bycensus2006.gov.hk/ars) or calling the By-census enquiry centre on 3582 3800 after receiving the householder letters.

During the visit, census officers will wear a light green colour T-shirt, carry a red satchel with the by-census logo and identify themselves with a Census Officer's Certificate of Identity issued by the Census and Statistics Department. If households wish to verify the census officer's identity, they can telephone the by-census enquiry centre on 3582 3800.

The 2006 Population By-census will also provide electronic questionnaires for those households/persons opting for electronic reporting. Sampled households/persons can call the enquiry centre on 3582 3800 to register for using the electronic questionnaires on or before July 14. Some basic information will be collected during the registration for preparing the tailor made and password protected electronic questionnaires. Census officers will deliver the password letters to the registered households/persons so that they can download their own electronic questionnaires from the designated website for completion and return to the department. These procedures are specially designed to ensure the confidentiality of data provided on the electronic questionnaires.

Mr Fung assured people that strict measures would be implemented to ensure confidentiality of information supplied by households.

"Information on individual persons or households collected in the by-census will be used for statistical purposes only. The Census and Statistics Department is legally prohibited from allowing access to this information by any government departments or organisations," Mr Fung said.

"Under the Census and Statistics Ordinance, it is an offence for census officers to disclose data pertaining to individual persons or households to unauthorised persons. All completed questionnaires will be destroyed within one year after the by-census," he added.

Mr Fung appealed to people for their co-operation and support. "I call on all sampled households to co-operate in providing accurate information to the census officers, and other people to render any help which may facilitate the work of our census officers," he said.

Mr Fung revealed the by-census slogan "Support the 2006 By-census - Hong Kong's Blueprint for Tomorrow". He thanked the sampled households for their co-operation and in particular their contributions in building a better future for Hong Kong.

People who would like to have more information about the By-census may also visit the 2006 Population By-census website (http://www.bycensus2006.gov.hk).

Ends/Thursday, July 6, 2006
Issued at HKT 15:25