The territory's population is 7.03 million. In 2009, Hong Kong had a birth rate of 11.7 per 1,000 population and a fertility rate of 1,032 children per 1,000 women.Residents from mainland China do not have the right of abode in Hong Kong, nor are they allowed to enter the territory freely. However, the influx of immigrants from mainland China, approximating 45,000 per year, is a significant contributor to its population growth – a daily quota of 150 Mainland Chinese with family ties in Hong Kong are granted a "one way permit".Life expectancy in Hong Kong is 79.16 years for males and 84.79 years for females as of 2009, among the fifth in the world.
About 95% of the people of Hong Kong are of Chinese descent, the majority of whom are Taishanese, Chiu Chow, other Cantonese people, and Hakka. Hong Kong's Han majority originate mainly from the Guangzhou and Taishan regions in Guangdong province. The remaining 5% of the population is composed of non-ethnic Chinese forming a highly visible group despite their smaller numbers. There is a South Asian population of Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalese; some Vietnamese refugees have become permanent residents of Hong Kong. There are also Europeans (mostly British), Americans, Canadians, Japanese, and Koreans working in the city's commercial and financial sector. In 2008, there were an estimate of 252,500 foreign domestic helpers from Indonesia and the Philippines working in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's de facto official language is Cantonese, a Chinese language originating from Guangdong province to the north of Hong Kong. English is also an official language, and according to a 1996 by-census is spoken by 3.1 percent of the population as an everyday language and by 34.9 percent of the population as a second language. Signs displaying both Chinese and English are common throughout the territory. Since the 1997 handover, an increase in immigrants from mainland China and greater integration with the mainland economy have brought an increasing number of Mandarin speakers to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of religious freedom, guaranteed by the Basic Law. Ninety percent of Hong Kong's population practises a mix of local religions, most prominently Buddhism, but also, Confucianism, and Taoism. A Christian community of around 600,000 forms about 8% of the total population; it is nearly equally divided between Catholics and Protestants, although smaller Christian communities exist, including the Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses. The Anglican and Roman Catholic churches each freely appoint their own bishops, unlike in mainland China. There are also Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Bahá'í communities. The practice of Falun Gong is tolerated.
Statistically Hong Kong's income gap is the worst in Asia Pacific. According to a report by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in 2008, Hong Kong's Gini coefficient, at 0.53, was the highest in Asia and "relatively high by international standards".However, the government has stressed that income disparity does not equate to worsening of the poverty situation, and that the Gini coefficient is not strictly comparable between regions. The government has named economic restructuring, changes in household sizes, and the increase of high-income jobs as factors that have skewed the Gini coefficient.
Hong Kong's education system used to roughly follow the system in England, although international systems exist. The government maintains a policy in which the medium of instruction is Cantonese (Chinese: 母語教學), with written Chinese and English. In secondary schools, 'biliterate and trilingual' proficiency is emphasised, and Mandarin-language education has been increasing. The Programme for International Student Assessment ranked Hong Kong's education system as the second best in the world. Hong Kong's public schools are operated by the Education Bureau. The system features a...