Districts of Hong Kong
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Districts of Hong Kong

Districts of Hong Kong
Map of Hong Kong 18 Districts en.svg
CategoryUnitary unit
Location Hong Kong
Number18 districts
Populations137,122 (Islands) - 607,544 (Sha Tin)
Areas10 km2 (4 sq mi) (Yau Tsim Mong) - 220 km2 (84 sq mi) (North)
GovernmentDistrict Councils

The districts of Hong Kong (Chinese: ?) are the 18 political areas into which Hong Kong is geographically and administratively divided. Each district has a district council, formerly district boards, for which the boards were established in 1982,[1] when Hong Kong was under British rule. However, the districts have limited relevance to the population, as few public services operate according to district boundaries. The police,[2]fire services, health services, education and hospital authorities, and postal service[3] each define their own idiosyncratic geographic divisions.


In the 1860s, residents speaking the same dialects were often grouped together, and social structure was more important than district structure. Merchants often travelled together as guilds and sold common goods across different areas. Organizations such as Nam Pak Hong, Tung Wah Hospital Committee and "District Watch Committee" often cut across any native district lines. The concept of boundary separation only became important around 1870, when cultural conflicts increased between coolies, Chinese and the British.[4] One of the first legal attempt to control districts came in 1888 under the European District Reservation Ordinance, which reserved areas exclusively to Europeans. The first Town Planning Ordinance did not appear until 1939.[5][6]

The New Territories and New Kowloon became part of Hong Kong since 1898. The colonial government appoints District Officer to oversee the area. At first the Northern District Officer was stationed in Tai Po. The Northern District and Southern District was later split into Islands District Office, Tuen Mun District Office, Yuen Long District Office, Sai Kung District Office, etc.

The District Administration Scheme was implemented in 1982 with the establishment of a district board and a district management committee in each of the districts in Hong Kong, including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and aforementioned the New Territories. The aim of the scheme is to achieve a more effective co-ordination of government activities in the provision of services and facilities at the district level, ensure that the Government is responsive to district needs and problems and promote public participation in district affairs. From 1 July 1997 to 31 December 1999, the former district boards were replaced by provisional district boards. The provisional district boards were in turn replaced on 1 January 2000, with 18 district councils.

There have been two major changes on district divisions since their implementation in 1982:

  1. Kwai Tsing District split off from Tsuen Wan District in 1985.
  2. Yau Tsim District and Mong Kok District merged to become Yau Tsim Mong District in 1994.

There were also alterations to the borders between Sham Shui Po and Kwai Tsing districts, which used to straddle across Nob Hill since its development on the site of the former Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park, and between Eastern and Wan Chai districts, which involved reallocation of the Tin Hau and the Victoria Park constituencies.



The map depicting population density of Hong Kong by district

The population density per district varies from 825 (Islands) to 56,779 (Kwun Tong) per km2. Before the combination of Mong Kok and Yau Tsim districts in 1995, Mong Kok District had the highest density (~120,000/km2). The following figures come from the 2016 Population By-census. Note that the median monthly per capita income is deduced from the median monthly domestic household income, the average domestic household size and the labour force.

District Chinese Population (2016)[7] Comparable Territory (2018)[8] Population Growth (From 2006)[7] Density
243,266 Mayotte (France) -2.7% 19,391
Eastern 555,034 Cape Verde -2.8% 30,861
Southern 274,994 French Guiana (France) -0.6% 7,080
Wan Chai 180,123 Saint Lucia -0.1% 17,137
Hong Kong Island subtotal 1,253,417 East Timor -1.2% 15,691
Sham Shui Po 405,869 Belize +11.0% 43,381
Kowloon City ? 418,732 Brunei +15.5% 41,802
Kwun Tong 648,541 Solomon Islands +10.4% 57,530
Wong Tai Sin ? 425,235 Brunei +0.4% 45,711
Yau Tsim Mong ? 342,970 Iceland +22.3% 49,046
Kowloon and New Kowloon subtotal 2,241,347 Botswana +11.0% 47,748
Islands 156,801 Curaçao (Netherlands) +14.4% 886
Kwai Tsing 520,572 Maldives -0.5% 22,307
North 315,270 Iceland +12.3% 2,310
Sai Kung 461,864 Guadeloupe (France) +13.6% 3,563
Sha Tin 659,794 Solomon Islands +8.6% 9,602
Tai Po 303,926 Vanuatu +3.5% 2,233
Tsuen Wan 318,916 Iceland +10.5% 5,149
Tuen Mun 489,299 Guadeloupe (France) -2.5% 5,894
Yuen Long 607,200 Luxembourg +15.0% 4,435
New Territories subtotal 3,840,620 Georgia +7.5% 4,019
Marine - 1,201 Tokelau (New Zealand) -60.8% -

* Source from https://www.bycensus2016.gov.hk/en/bc-mt.html


List of districts by unemployment rate

Districts 2004 (%) 2003 (%) 2000(%)
Kwai Tsing 9.5 11.9 6.1
North 8.7 10.5 5.9
Tuen Mun 8.4 10.6 5.6
Yuen Long 8.4 12.3 5.1
Sham Shui Po 10.3 6.1
Kwun Tong 8.0 9.7 5.3
Wong Tai Sin 7.9 9.1 6.9
Tai Po 7.8 10.3 5.9
Sha Tin 6.9 8.3 4.9
Islands 6.5 7.1 2.5
Sai Kung 6.3 7.5 4.0
Yau Tsim Mong 6.3 9.8 5.5
Tseun Wan 5.7 7.3 4.5
Kowloon City 5.5 6.9 3.9
Eastern 5.1 6.0 4.0
Central and Western 4.0 4.4 3.4
Southern 4.5 6.6 4.7
Wan Chai 7.0 5.2 3.0
Hong Kong 7.0 8.8 5.0

* Source from the Census and Statistics Department, data taken from Ming Pao dated 1 May 2005.

List of districts by median monthly household income

Districts Median monthly
household income (HK$)
Wan Chai 44,100
Central and Western 41,400
Sai Kung 36,500
Eastern 34,300
Southern 32,800
Tsuen Wan 32,600
North 30,400
Kowloon City 30,000
Yau Tsim Mong 30,000
Sha Tin 29,700
Islands 28,400
Yuen Long 27,000
Tai Po 25,800
Wong Tai Sin 25,500
Tuen Mun 25,000
Kwai Tsing 24,700
Sham Shui Po 24,300
Kwun Tong 22,500

* 2019 figures, source from the Census and Statistics Department.

The Home Affairs Department

The Home Affairs Department is responsible for the District Administration Scheme, community building and community involvement activities, minor environmental improvement projects and minor local public works, and the licensing of hotels and guesthouses, bedspace apartments and clubs. It promotes the concept of effective building management and works closely with other government departments to consistently improve the standard of building management in Hong Kong. It monitors the provision of new arrival services and identifies measures to meet the needs of new arrivals. It also disseminates information relating to and, where necessary, promotes the public's understanding of major government policies, strategies and development plans; and collects and assesses public opinion on relevant issues affecting the community. These responsibilities are discharged primarily through the 18 district offices covering the whole of Hong Kong.

District officers

As head of each district office, the district officer is the representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government at the district level. He has the responsibility of overseeing directly the operation of the District Administration Scheme in the district. He is charged with implementing and co-ordinating the execution of district programmes, ensuring that the advice of the district council is properly followed up, and promoting residents' participation in district affairs. In addition, he is required to maintain close liaison with different sectors of the community and reflect their concerns and problems to the Government. It is his duty to ensure that district problems are resolved promptly through inter-departmental consultation and co-operation. Also, he acts as a link between the district council and departments and serves as a mediator between them when problems arise. The district officer is also involved with the community at every level. He has a role to mediate in the resolution of disputes between corporate bodies and residents. He performs an advisory and liaison role in providing assistance to building management bodies. He operates a public enquiry service to enable the community to have easy access to services and information provided by government. In emergency situations, the district officer is responsible for co-ordinating various departments' efforts on the ground for ensuring the effective provision of relief services.[9]

The role of district councils

District councils play an essential advisory role on district matters and issues affecting the whole of Hong Kong as appropriate. The functions of a district council are:

  • To advise the Government on:
    • matters affecting the well-being of the people in the district;
    • the provision and use of public facilities and services within the district;
    • the adequacy and priorities of government programmes for the district; and
    • the use of public funds allocated to the district for local public works and community activities;
  • Where funds are made available for the purpose, to undertake:
    • environmental improvements within the district;
    • the promotion of recreational and cultural activities within the district; and
    • community activities within the district.

The district councils also advise on the management of community centres, which should be in the best interest of the local residents. The district councils initiate, organise and sponsor community involvement projects and activities aimed at enhancing community spirit and social cohesion and promoting the well-being of people in the districts. These range from large-scale district festivals to the formation of local youth choirs and dance troupes. They have also achieved notable success in improving the local environment by undertaking minor environmental improvement projects such as the provision of rest gardens, rain shelters and amenity planting.

In the 2003/04 financial year, $205.6 million has been allocated for the district councils.

Consultation with district councils

Departments send representatives to district council meetings, to consult them and, where appropriate, act on their advice and keep them informed of government policies and programmes in general and, more specifically, of the work of departments in the district and local matters that are likely to affect the livelihood, living environment or well-being of the residents within a district.

Composition of district councils

The eleven-term district councils, comprising 479 members (452 elected, 27 ex-officio who are chairmen of the rural committees in the New Territories), commenced on 1 January 2020.

District management committees

The district management committee in each district is chaired by the district officer. It is a government committee consisting of representatives of the core departments in the district, and provides a forum for departments to discuss and resolve district problems. It responds positively to the advice and requests of the district council and submits a comprehensive written report on its work to each meeting of the district council. To enhance communication between the district management committee and the district council, the district council chairman, vice-chairman and chairmen of district council committees are invited to join district management committee as members.

See also


  1. ^ Time to revamp Hong Kong's neglected district councils, SCMP, Sonny Lo, 18 November 2013
  2. ^ https://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/01_about_us/os_os.html
  3. ^ Hongkong Post: Delivery Office Information Archived 11 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Tsai Jung-fang. [1995] (1995). Hong Kong in Chinese History: community and social unrest in the British Colony, 1842-1913. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-07933-8
  5. ^ Fong, Ki. Lai Lawrence Wai-chung. [2000] (2000) Hong Kong University Press. Town Planning Practice: Context Procedures and Statistics for Hong Kong. ISBN 962-209-516-X
  6. ^ Levine, Philippa. [2003] (2003) Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire. United Kingdom: Routledge Publishing. ISBN 0-415-94446-5
  7. ^ a b c "Main Tables | 2016 Population By-census". www.bycensus2016.gov.hk. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "List of countries by population (United Nations)", Wikipedia, 29 July 2020, retrieved 2020
  9. ^ Home Affairs Department - District Officer function, Retrieved 2018-05-29

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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