Hong Kong’s population edges up to 7.5 million, second year of post-COVID growth

By Thomson Reuters Feb 20, 2024 | 9:15 PM

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s population rose 0.4% to 7.50 million in 2023, boosted by a net inflow of returning residents and people on residential schemes, the government said, as the financial hub marked its second year of population growth since the pandemic.

The increase of 30,500 people from 7.47 million in 2022 comes as the Chinese special administrative region is trying to bolster its economy and international appeal after three years of strict COVID rules.

Anti-government protests in 2019, followed by Beijing’s swift imposition of a sweeping national security law in 2020 have also taken a toll on its reputation and economy.

The government said the population increase was the second year since “normalcy resumed” in the former British colony.

“Many Hong Kong residents who stayed abroad during the epidemic have returned to Hong Kong throughout 2023. In the second half of 2023, there was still considerable inflow of Hong Kong Permanent Residents.”

The government said also attributable was the “successive admission of mainland and overseas persons through various schemes into Hong Kong.”

There was a net inflow of 51,700 Hong Kong residents recorded during the period, it said, with 79% holding a ‘One-way permit’ a document issued by mainland China to allow them to reside in the city.

Over the same period, a natural decrease of 21,200 was recorded, with 33,200 births and 54,400 deaths.

Hong Kong’s population rise comes after China’s population fell for a second consecutive year in 2023, due to a record low birth rate and a wave of COVID-19 deaths.

(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)