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Hongkong population registers huge leap

HONGKONG'S population registered its largest jump in a decade in 1992, as tens of thousands more people arrived in the territory than departed.

However, the Census and Statistics Department, which released the year-end population figures yesterday, would not comment on whether this signalled a reversal of Hongkong's ''brain drain''.

The estimated population of Hongkong at the end of 1992 was 5,902,100.

That is an increase of 79,600 - or 1.4 per cent - over 1991 figures, the department said.

There were 42,300 more births than deaths in 1992. But while this ''natural increase'' accounted for more than half of 1992's population growth, the increase was not notably higher than previous years.

The unusually high 1992 population growth was credited to the fact that total arrivals in the territory exceeded departures, resulting in a net increase of 37,300 people.

However, that does not necessarily mean that there has been an increase in immigration - or decrease in emigration - because some of the arrivals and departures may be temporary.

For instance, the number of expatriates living in the territory has increased dramatically over the past few years.

Hongkong's population at the end of 1982 was 5.32 million. Since then it has increased every year.

The smallest increase in the past decade was in 1990, when the population grew by just 0.4 per cent over the previous year.