Putonghua use in young rises 50pc in past decade

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 January, 2008, 12:00am

Putonghua has become more commonly spoken among young people since the city was returned to China in 1997, according to a report by the Census and Statistics Department released yesterday.

Based on data collected in the 2006 population 'by-census', the report analysed the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of those aged between 15 and 24.

It found that in 2006, 53 per cent of young people spoke Mandarin, compared with 26.1 per cent in 1996.

The proportion of young English speakers was also up from 61.3 per cent in 1996 to 67.7 a decade later.

The number of young people in the city rose at an average rate of 2 per cent a year between 1961 and 2006. There were 909,005 young people in 2006.

But in terms of the proportion of young in the total population, its percentage dropped from 23 per cent in 1981 to 13.2 per cent in 2006. New Territories districts appear to be getting 'younger'. For Tai Po, 16.8 per cent of its population are young people, followed by North district (16.4 per cent) and Yuen Long (15.3 per cent).

The three districts where the proportion of young people was the lowest were Wan Chai (9.3 per cent), Yau Tsim Mong (10.7 per cent) and Central and Western (11 per cent).

The school attendance rate for the age group 17 to 18 increased from 63.9 per cent in 1996 to 82.8 per cent over 10 years, and that for the age group 19 to 24 also increased from 21 per cent to 37.3 per cent.

The number of young with tertiary education increased in number and in their share of the population. In 1996, 161,169 young people, or 18.5 per cent of that age range, had attended tertiary education.

Ten years later, the number reached 278,077, or 30.6 per cent of the age range.

Over the 10 years, young people in the labour force as a percentage of all in the age range (the labour force participation rate) declined steadily from 53.2 per cent in 1996 to 47.7 per cent in 2006.

Crowded nests

The percentage of young married people who live with their parents, spouse and children: 9%