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Low Birth Rate in Hong Kong

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 3112 words Published: 17th Jul 2017

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Nowadays, the world population just over 6 billion and consistently estimate to increase to 9 billion in the next 50 years. The growth rate is mostly come from those developing countries, especially from Africa. Nevertheless, the birth rate which we would call it as population growth rate is decreasing in Hong Kong. The local birth rate reached the lowest level in the world. According to the report from the Census and Statistics Department, around 30,000 babies will be generated by mainland couples while 69,000 will be born in Hong Kong each year. In 2006, 984 babies were produced each 1000 expectant mothers. The estimation of the following 30 years, the birth rate will be lower than 900 babies would be born with each 1000 expectant mothers.

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We can use the graph from Census and Statistics Department to indicate the change by birth rate. In the fig. 1.1, the lines are representing the population in 1996 while bars are representing the 2006s. We would see that the population in Hong Kong is going to form a reverse triangle as fewer are born in the base. Moreover, we would see that the birth rate was continuing decrease from 1981 to 2006. Basically, the government has been put aware on the issue. In one of a meeting of legislative council, the councilors have put out this as one the items of agenda.

The decrease in birth rate may help to save the sustainable resources in the world, but it would cause out many society problems as well. Actually, aging problem is a serious issue happening in the society. And, this would cause out many consequences to make the society become poor. Aging problem will lead the tax payer having a heavy tax. As the decreasing birth rate cause out, fewer tax payers will need to fall into the tax system. While the number of elderly would increase to form an unhealthy population, the Government would have a financial problem on subsiding them. The government need to bear heavy costs on medical services, elderly health care and retirement such as social security allowance.

On the other hand, the education system may need a reform. The demand would decrease as fewer children entering the education system. Those schools will be terminated by a low birth rate, and employers like teachers will be being unemployed. This is already happened in the society in 2006. Many schools are warned to shut down by insufficient students. As a result, encouraging the birth rate is a must. Recently, the government noticed that the importance of having a good birth rate and formed a committee to put concern and finding out solutions in low birth rate issue. The effective way is the government encourage the citizens to improve the birth rate.


In this study, we would like to help to find out the reason of causing low birth rate.

Besides, we would not only want to know the causes but also want to find out solutions and the ways of government would able to give a hand. Therefore, our research objectives will be set as the followings:

  • Understand the reason of low birth rate occur
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of various methods to increase birth rate
  • Understand the value of having baby (promotion purpose)
  • Evaluate the impact of various media on the decision to have a child
  • Obtain the demographic of response


Through this marketing research, we would define clear why the low birth rate was caused out. Afterwards, we can find out the most effective solution to improve the birth rate, in order to prevent the next generation to pay the heavy tax to the government which is our generation and beyond. On the other hand, we would the report will be indicated out that the effective way of promotion by the government which he citizens would thinks it does work. It is beneficial to the government whether the aging problem is solved, the financial burden will reform. The government is able to put the subsidies on the other ways that make Hong Kong becoming a most successful city that people would like to live.


To begin our research, we may need to use exploratory research to provide the insights of the low birth rate problems. From the various types of exploratory research technique, we have used secondary data analysis and focus group when doing this project.

Secondary data

Low birth rate which is a big issue for the Hong Kong government, so there are plenty of data about this issue on the website of the Census and Statistics Department and also the newspaper. The reasons why we are using the secondary data are because they are low cost and useful as background information. Also, some of the data are realistic as those data are collected from the official department of Hong Kong Government. As the government highly concern about the low birth rate, there are policies and promotions about how to improve low birth rate, which helps us on creating the questions for our questionnaire.

Focus Group

Focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement or idea. And there will be a moderator to introduce the topic of discussion and to encourage the group to discuss. Using focus group can allow the participants to discuss their true feeling and convictions, fast to collect data, easy to execute and flexible with low cost.

Forming this focus group, our purpose is to understand the reason of low birth rate, evaluate the effectiveness of various methods to increase the birth rate, understand more the value of having a baby, evaluate the impact of various media on the decision to have a child, obtaining the demographic of response. After doing the focus group, we can combine the observations to understand the culture, the social group, sampling the sites to study, and creating news issues or topics we didn’t think of.

We would form 2 focus groups which consist of 6 respondents each. Besides, we need to hire a professional analyst to lead the focus group on the discussing track. Then, we need to book a one-way mirror room to observe the progress of the focus group. The most important is we should jot down the discussion by notes as an alternative way if the video recording devices does not work. The topic of discussion was focus on five main issues we focused on reasons affecting the birth rate, methods to improve birth rate, value on birth rate, ways to promote generation, demographic. To acquire the information we need, an analyst is needed to lead the focus group to discuss on the aspects. We did set the suggest questions:

  • How do you think to generate a child?
  • What are the costs to generate a child?
  • What do you think the consequence to generate a child?
  • Which ways do you suggest to encourage generation?
  • How do you think the policies of government promotion?

Summary of Findings Section

We have been held focus groups in the March. After the focus group, we were given out some ideas of the low birth rate issue.

In the focus groups people are all agree the late marriage is the trend in Hong Kong, many ladies are become focusing on their work. But they conclude that the cost of having a baby is the main cause of low birth rate. They need to quit their job, after the baby growth, their job opportunities will be probably lower as they disconnected with the society. They discussed that the birth rate from the middle class is important to improved.

Later, they discuss that the method to improve the birth rate. Most of them thought that the government subsidies are the ways to help. Education allowance is the most effective as most of them agreed. It is because they think it is a long-term subsidy that their children need to study nearly 10 years. It is benefit if it would save their cost. However, no one concern on public housing because they thought that it is relate to the marry cost, not related to having a baby. They would think that the value of having a baby is to generate their breed. Most of them think that the TV commercial is the effective way to encouraged by government. It is because animation and sound would give them memorized.


To choose a suitable method to fit with our case, we would like to use the mall intercept personal interviews for collecting primary data. The process involves stopping the targets, screening them for appropriateness, and either administering the survey on the spot or inviting them to a research facility located in the mall to complete the interview. And, we decided to set up in Women Health Centre and the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong etc, therefore we are able to get the result that related to our expectation and purpose.

The characteristic of the method is confined place to conduct the survey but speed of data collecting is fast, and conductors are easier to reach the assigned quantity with a specific time. It will have the highest degree of interviewer influence of answers. Although geographical flexibility is confined in a selection place, we can poll a large number of target respondents with a successful planning. There will have low anonymity of respondents however, the respondents may not actively to cooperate. It is difficult to follow up or call back but it is not an actual problem. Essentially, interviewers can provide clear explanations for the questions asked, respondents will be clearer to answer the questions through face-to-face interview. So, the possibility of respondent misunderstanding will be the lowest.

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On the other hand, if the respondent cooperation is not enough to meet the planned quantity, we may also use phone survey to back up mall intercept personal interview. The advantages of using phone survey is competitive reduce cost and the respondent cooperation are good. So, it is a good back-up proposal for anything goes wrong in the mall intercept personal interview.

There are some measurements guiding us in design our questionnaire. We should concern that each questions should have a reason behind asking and the type of answers you would like to receive y open-ended or close-ended. Later, we should concern on the questionnaire wording. In designing our questionnaire, we have avoided long questions that will give people confusing by using short and clear wording. Secondly, we avoid emotional and socially desirability response by loaded and assumption questions. So, the validity will be increased. Be sure all answer choices are mutually exclusive, check for ambiguity in wording the question, and ensure if the respondents can interpret the meaning of words differently. We also put aware on the personal pronouns (gender references) – never use only him (his) or her (her) unless you are referring to a specific gender. Be specific, rather than general questions and word them so that they communicate uniform meaning. Avoid using double negatives, especially possible when using Agree/Disagree.



There are several scale in setting questionnaire, interval scale, nominal scale, ordinal scale and ratio scale.

We used Interval Scale in Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 in our questionnaire. An interval scale is a measurement scale in which a certain distance along the scale means the same thing no matter where on the scale you are, but where “0” on the scale does not represent the absence of the thing being measured. The Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales are examples. It is uniquely classifies, in preserves order and equal intervals.

We used Nominal Scale in Q.5B, Q.5C, Q.5D, Q.5E in our questionnaire. A nominal scale is really a list of categories to which objects can be classified. For example, asking the gender and give “Male” and “Female”, for asking status, given “Single” “Married” and “Divorce”. The data so classified are termed categorical data, which are reflecting the classification of objects into different categories.

We used Ordinal Scale in Q.5A, Q.5F and Q.5G in our questionnaire. An ordinal scale is a measurement scale that assigns values to objects based on their ranking with respect to one another. For example, Q.5G, we are asking about the monthly income of each target ordinance, from [1] Less than $5000 to [5] above $30,000. While you know that [5] is having more income than [1], but there is no implication that [5] is twice times more than [1]. All we know is that there are 5 categories, with obviously that [2] are having more income than [1], [3] are having more income than [2], etc. The higher the value assigned, the higher the category.

2.3.2 Pretest Procedure

It is very important for us to do the pretest before the questionnaire being publicized; the aim of pretesting questionnaire is to ensure that it can be clearly understood. Since the questionnaire may have a lot of mistakes, therefore, we need to conduct and find out the information on that issue. Correct all the mistakes in the questionnaire are necessary, if the survey did not properly set, the purpose will not be achieved to conduct the accurate information what we looking for.

For our questionnaire, in order to achieve the effectiveness of pretest, we are going to read the questionnaire for at least 15 times after setting. Besides, we are also going to ask for 15 respondents to test our questionnaire. Finding correct and relevant respondents can help to increase the efficacy of pretest. The varieties respondents would be desire for our Low Birth Rate questionnaires are the professionals, such as English teachers; lecturers, schoolmates from universities, and also our parents. We chose them for the questionnaire pretest procedure, since some of them have sufficient knowledge to state out our problems, for example, English teachers can correct our grammar and spelling mistakes, rectify the question wording into more format type. Lecturers can check the flow of questions and give suggestions on the question, ensure that we are using the multiple-grid format and have been separated them into variety of groups before conducting. And, some of them are easy to reach, like our schoolmates, their feedbacks help us to predict our target ordinance reaction to the questionnaire, they also may help to estimate the time-taking. After all, we can rearrange the follow up and one by one.

Use our questionnaire as an example, after the pretest procedure; we rectify the question wording to make the questionnaire become more clarify. Such as, using “Very Unimportant” and “Very Important” to replace “Most Important” and “Least Important”. Use full sentence, “Are you working now? (If yes, please continue to answer the following questions. Otherwise, jump to ﹝H﹞)” instead of a single word “Occupation” etc. (Appendix fig. 2.2, fig. 2.3)


Sampling is the simple way to reach out targets with a subset of the population instead of reaching the entire population. Compare with reaching the entire population, sampling will help to save time, cutting cost for budgeting and manpower. Firstly, we should figure the target group out. Our target group is men and women who have visited Women Health Centre and the Family Planning Association. It is because they will have a brief concern and knowledge on the birth rate issue. To reach our target group, we would use the convenience sampling indeed. There is no sampling frame while it is actually a non-probability sampling method. Those respondents are unknown member form our target group because of using the non-probability sampling. Our interviews will select the most available targets arbitrary. However, we would set the 200 respondents as our sample size.

As the mall intercept personal interview is suitable to associate with our research, it has many advantages indeed. First, the mall intercept personal interview can be conducted faster and inexpensive. Also, the mall intercept can poll a large number of respondents and control the speed of the survey. As we want to poll a large number of respondents in target group, we decided to interview in Women Health Centre and the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong within 3 days. As the mall intercept is a face-to-face contact with the interviewees, it will lead us easier follow-up and make corrections of the unclear or misunderstanding answers. These advantages will encourage us to conduct a better survey.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect method existing in the world. We would just choose the method which consist the least disadvantages. In the mall intercept, we would require a lot of labour force to conduct. This will lead the research cost climb higher by hiring cost for interviewers. Furthermore, low accuracy of the survey is also a disadvantage of this method. It is difficult to follow up if we find out any problem while analyzing the answers. Further, the result sampling may not represent the entire population in a place. Therefore, we would find out some solutions to fix them. We would not employ volunteers as our group members can be the volunteers in the research. Perhaps, cost of the employment will be relatively lower. In order to improve the accuracy, setting up more intercept places for interview can enhance the representative level of the results. Also, after conducting the survey, interviewees would politely to ask the respondents to leave their contact information if they are willing to do that. Hopefully, it may improve the disadvantages of the survey method.

We would do the survey over 3 selected places within 3 day. On 28th April, we would conduct in the Family Planning Association at Wan Chai while conducting in the Women Association in Tuen Mun in the following day (29th April). Finally, we would reach the Family Planning Association at Wong Tai Sin in 30th April. These 3 locations will be assigned a team to play the role as interviewers. Each team will consist of 3 member do stay within the place in the operation hours. The selection of those 3 places is due to improving the accuracy of the sampling over territories. In addition, easy to reach who concern birth rate, prepare to have a child or even avoid having child as well.



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