important item

Enquiry Hotlines 

 
Checking identity of census officers

        2582 4798 or 2887 5526

 
Making appointment for interview

       As shown on the notification letter / non-contact slip sent by this department.
       (Please quote the reference number printed on the notification letter / non-contact slip.)

 
Survey matters

        2887 5526

Survey objective

The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) has been conducting the General Household Survey (GHS) since August 1981 to collect information on the labour force, employment, unemployment and underemployment, as well as the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population. The information collected is useful to the Government for review and formulation of social and economic policies, and is widely used in research conducted by the academia and private sector.

Some examples of the use of the GHS data are:
  1. To provide statistics on labour force participation rate, number of employed persons, unemployment rate and underemployment rate on a monthly basis to reflect the latest labour market situation;
  2. To provide information on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the working population, including age-sex composition, education level and employment earnings; and
  3. To provide statistics on households, including household size, type of housing, rent and monthly household income to support studies on the poverty situation and formulation of poverty alleviation policies.

Survey methodology

Survey coverage

The GHS covers the land-based non-institutional population of Hong Kong and thus does not cover:

  1. inmates of institutions; and
  2. persons living on board vessels.

The survey covers about 99% of the Hong Kong Resident Population (i.e. including both Usual Residents and Mobile Residents).

Sample design

The GHS makes use of a full list of addresses of quarters in Hong Kong maintained by C&SD as the sampling frame. In each month, about 9 000 quarters are randomly selected from the list to form the sample of the survey. Information about all households and their members living in the selected quarters is collected.

A rotational replicate sample design is adopted in selecting the monthly samples such that households in about half of the sampled quarters in a month will be enumerated again 3 months later. The overlapping of the monthly samples enables more precise estimation of changes in the labour force and socio-economic characteristics of the population over time on the one hand, and better management of respondents' reporting burden on the other.

Data collection method

At the start of each survey cycle (normally on the 23rd day of the month preceding the survey month), notification letters are sent to the sampled quarters with clear postal addresses by C&SD to explain the purpose of the GHS and to seek the co-operation of the households living therein. Letters are also sent to the district offices concerned to solicit their assistance in informing households in those sampled quarters without clear postal addresses.

As a rotational replicate sample design is adopted in the GHS, about half of the sampled quarters in the current survey month are repeated cases which had been enumerated by the GHS 3 months ago, while another half are newly selected cases. For newly selected cases, our census officers will visit the households concerned to collect the required information by face-to-face interviewing. A non-contact slip will be left behind when the census officer cannot make contact with the household visited.

For repeated cases, our census officers will collect the required information by Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) as far as possible.

In addition to face-to-face interviewing and CATI, Online Questionnaire is available for sampled households to supply their information over the Internet. Sampled households can follow the simple instructions given in the notification letters to activate and complete the online questionnaire on their own.

Questionnaire content

The GHS questionnaire is designed to collect information on the labour force, employment, unemployment and underemployment, as well as the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population. The concepts and definitions used in measuring labour force, employment, unemployment and underemployment follow closely the recommendations of the International Labour Organization.

Major regular data items included in the questionnaire are:

Other data items may also be asked in the form of special topic enquiry on a need basis. For further information, please contact the General Household Survey Section (1) (tel: 2887 5526; fax: 2508 1501; email: household-survey@censtatd.gov.hk).

Special topic enquiry on persons with disabilities and selected health conditions

In the survey months from November 2019 to August 2020, C&SD will include a special topic enquiry on disabilities and selected health conditions in the GHS for those newly selected households (see sample design). In Hong Kong, there are quite some persons with disabilities as well as persons requiring assistance in terms of physical or mental healthiness. These persons and their carers are facing difficulties and pressure in various aspects of day-to-day living and quite some of them are very much in need of assistance. The information collected in this special topic enquiry will enable the Government and relevant organisations to have a better understanding of the living conditions and needs of them for reviewing and improving the relevant rehabilitation, medical and welfare services. As a similar special topic enquiry was last conducted in 2013, which was several years ago, there is a need to obtain up-to-date information.

Major data items included in the enquiry are:

Households using the GHS online questionnaire are only required to answer some screening questions first for the purpose of identifying whether there are any target respondents of the special topic enquiry in the household. If there are any target respondents, our census officers will contact them later on for conducting the special topic enquiry.

Households who have questions on the special topic enquiry or need special arrangements may contact the Special Duty Team of Social Statistics Branch (tel: 3586 2932; fax: 3106 3512; email: disurvey@censtatd.gov.hk).

Download the promotional leaflet of the special topic enquiry: Version 1 Version 2

promotional leaflet of the special topic enquiry

Checking identity of census officers

The name and telephone number of the census officer responsible for enumerating individual households are shown on the top right hand corner of the notification letter sent to the individual households.  For households completing the online questionnaire on their own with target respondents of the above special topic enquiry identified through the online questionnaire, census officers other than the one shown on the notification letter will be assigned to conduct follow-up interview by phone and/or visiting the households.

Each of our census officers carries a Government Identity Card / Enumerator Identity Card and a Certificate of Identity for conducting the GHS while on duty, which are available for inspection.

Households who wish to check the identity of the census officer visiting / calling them can contact C&SD by the following means:

Address
 21/F, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Telephone no.
 2582 4798 or 2887 5526 ( 8:45 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Monday - Friday (except public holidays))
(both numbers are supported with automatic recording function after the service hours.)
Facsimile no.
 3101 0334

Appointment for interview 

Households are welcome to make appointment for face-to-face / telephone interview by our census officers. They can contact C&SD at 8:45 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. on Monday - Friday (except public holidays) by calling the telephone number shown on the notification letter or non-contact slip. The telephone lines concerned are supported with automatic recording function outside the service hours and we will respond to the recorded messages as soon as practicable. Households can also make appointment through email: household-survey@censtatd.gov.hk. It will facilitate our follow-up by providing us with name of the contact person, contact telephone number and survey reference number (printed on the notification letter / non-contact slip).

Data confidentiality

The GHS is conducted under Part IIIA of the Census and Statistics Ordinance (Cap. 316). Data collected regarding individual persons and households will be kept in strict confidence and will not be released to any unauthorised parties, including government bureaux and departments. Such data will only be used for compiling statistics which will not enable information relating to individual persons or households to be revealed. In addition, all questionnaires will be destroyed within 12 months after the end of the survey period.

Frequently asked questions 

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

Key statistics and publications

Summary statistics on unemployment and underemployment covering a moving 3-month period are published every month by C&SD via a press release. In order to provide such statistics as timely as possible, provisional key labour force statistics (including the total labour force, total numbers of employed, unemployed and underemployed persons, overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and overall underemployment rate) for a 3-month period are published first at a time lag of about half a month, while more detailed statistics are published about 1.5 months after the end of the 3-month period concerned.

 
Press releases

Press releases are issued to inform the public of release of:

  1. Provisional unemployment and underemployment statistics;
  2. Quarterly Report on General Household Survey; and
  3. Population and Household Statistics Analysed by District Council District.

The schedule of upcoming press releases on provisional unemployment and underemployment statistics is available for reference by the public.

 
Publications

Apart from the monthly press releases on provisional unemployment and underemployment statistics and key labour force statistics available on this website, C&SD also publishes a series of reports entitled Quarterly Report on General Household Survey which provide detailed information on the size and composition of the labour force, demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the employed, unemployed and underemployed populations as well as the hours of work and employment earnings of the employed persons for each of the four calendar quarters in a year. The reports for the first three calendar quarters are published in the end of May, August and November of the same year respectively while the report for the fourth calendar quarter is published in end February of the next year.

Besides, an annual report entitled Population and Household Statistics Analysed by District Council District is published in March of each year. This series of reports contain annual statistics on a broad range of demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the population in different District Council districts.

Users can download the above publications free of charge at this website.

More detailed tabulations than those contained in the above publications are also available for public reference. Please contact the Household Statistics Analysis Section of this Department (Tel: 2887 5508; fax: 2508 1501; email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk) for more information.

 
Feature articles

Feature articles which analyse selected issues of interest to the community using the survey results of the General Household Survey are available for downloading free of charge at this website.  They include:

  1. The Profile of the Unemployed Population in Hong Kong;
  2. The Profile of Hong Kong Population Analysed by District Council District; and
  3. Analysis of the Dependency Trends in Hong Kong.
Statistics of longer time-series

Key labour force statistics covering moving 3-month periods are compiled regularly. You can view the latest statistics on this website. In addition, statistical tables containing time series of key labour force and household statistics are available for downloading free of charge at this website.

 
Seasonal adjustment for unemployment rate

Unemployment is subject to the effects of seasonal variations such as seasonal fluctuations in the number of first-time job-seekers, holiday effects at festive times and seasonal ups and downs in business activities. By applying seasonal adjustment to the series of unemployment rate, such seasonal variations are removed to enable figures for different periods to be analysed and compared in a more meaningful manner. It also facilitates discernment of the underlying trend of the unemployment rate. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates are compiled by the X-12 ARIMA method.

Enquiries 

Checking identity of census officers

Address
 21/F, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Telephone no.
 2582 4798 or 2887 5526
Facsimile no.
 3101 0334

Making appointment for interview

Telephone no.
 As shown on the notification letter or the non-contact slip
E-mail address
 household-survey@censtatd.gov.hk
 (please quote the reference number printed on the notification letter or the non-contact slip)

Survey operation (General Household Survey)

Address
 5/F, Fortress Tower, 250 King's Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Telephone no.
 2887 5526
Facsimile no.
 2508 1501
E-mail address
 household-survey@censtatd.gov.hk

Statistical data

Address
5/F, Fortress Tower, 250 King's Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Telephone no.
2887 5508
Facsimile no.
2508 1501
E-mail address
ghs@censtatd.gov.hk

Promotional leaflet

Download the promotional leaflet

Promotional leaflet