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HK woman gives birth to less than 1 child on average
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The total fertility rate of Hong Kong has been decreasing steadily in the past quarter century to 984 live births every thousand women from 1933 babies in 1981, the Census and Statistics Department said in a report Thursday.

The declining fertility, coupled with declining mortality, drove Hong Kong, the special administrative region in south China and currently a city of 6.86 million people, towards "a continuing dejuvenation and aging trend", the report said.

Life expectancy for man increased from 72.3 years in 1981 to 79.4 years in 2006, while the median age of the population rose from 26.3 to 39.6 during the period.

Meanwhile, the total population of the city rose from 5.18 million to 6.86 million, representing an average annual growth rate of 1.1 percent.

Delay in marriage prevailed, with the median age at first marriage for brides rising from 24 to 28 in the quarter century while the figure for bridegrooms from 27 to 31.

A total of 17,424 divorce decrees were granted in 2006, as compared with 2,060 in 1981.

The aging trend of the population has posed a challenge, causing labor shortage and prompting local authorities to provide incentives for women giving birth to children and announcing a set of policies aimed at attracting qualified immigrants.

However, with the economy at its best in a decade, Hong Kong has seen a mini baby boom in 2007, the year of the piglet in the lunar calendar which was deemed the lucky time for bearing new babies, with 28,000 women in labor during the first 11 months, up 8.2 percent from the same period a year earlier.

(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2007)

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