|Districts of Hong Kong|
|Populations||137,122 (Islands) – 607,544 (Sha Tin)|
|Areas||10 km2 (4 sq mi) (Yau Tsim Mong) – 220 km2 (84 sq mi) (North)|
The districts of Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港地區) are the 18 political areas of Hong Kong, a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, that are geographically and administratively divided. Each district has a district council, formerly district boards, for which the boards were established in 1982, 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, fire services, health services, education and hospital authorities, and postal service 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. 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.
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.
Following the appointment of district officers in urban Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Kowloon since 1968, 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:
- Kwai Tsing District split off from Tsuen Wan District in 1985.
- 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, in 2006, and between Eastern and Wan Chai districts, which involved reallocation of the Tin Hau and the Victoria Park constituencies in 2014. The borders between Sham Shui Po with that of Kwai Tsing and Yau Tsim Mong were also alterated after new land reclamation projects in the 1990s made it necessary to redraw the previous sea borders over newly formed land.
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).
|1||Islands||離島區||New Territories (NT)||175.12||156,801||+14.4%||886|
|New Territories subtotal||982.51||3,840,620||+7.5%||4,019|
|10||Kowloon City||九龍城區||Kowloon (KLN)||10.02||418,732||+15.5%||41,802|
|12||Sham Shui Po||深水埗區||9.35||405,869||+11.0%||43,381|
|13||Wong Tai Sin||黃大仙區||9.30||425,235||+0.4%||45,711|
|14||Yau Tsim Mong||油尖旺區||6.99||342,970||+22.3%||49,046|
|15||Central and Western||中西區||Hong Kong Island (HK)||12.44||243,266||-2.7%||19,391|
|Hong Kong Island subtotal||80.72||1,253,417||-1.2%||15,691|
List of districts by unemployment rate
This section needs to be updated.(August 2020)
|Districts||2004 (%)||2003 (%)||2000(%)|
|Sham Shui Po||10.3||6.1|
|Wong Tai Sin||7.9||9.1||6.9|
|Yau Tsim Mong||6.3||9.8||5.5|
|Central and Western||4.0||4.4||3.4|
List of districts by median monthly household income
household income (HK$)
|Central and Western||41,400|
|Yau Tsim Mong||30,000|
|Wong Tai Sin||25,500|
|Sham Shui Po||24,300|
* 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.
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.
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.
- Time to revamp Hong Kong's neglected district councils, SCMP, Sonny Lo, 18 November 2013
- Hongkong Post: Delivery Office Information Archived 11 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- Tsai Jung-fang.  (1995). Hong Kong in Chinese History: community and social unrest in the British Colony, 1842–1913. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-07933-8
- Fong, Ki Lai Lawrence Wai-chung.  (2000) Hong Kong University Press. Town Planning Practice: Context Procedures and Statistics for Hong Kong. ISBN 962-209-516-X
- Levine, Philippa.  (2003) Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire. United Kingdom: Routledge Publishing. ISBN 0-415-94446-5
- Schedule to Declaration of Districts Order 1994, Cap 366H, and plan nos. DB/94/F, DB/94/E, DB/94/S; Part II of Schedule 1 to District Councils Bill 1999, and maps numbered DC/2000/F, DC/2000/E, DC/2000/S.
- Revenue Department - Districts
- 18 districts gov.hk
- Hong Kong Geographic Data (Include Area by District Council) - landsd.gov.hk
- "Main Tables | 2016 Population By-census". www.bycensus2016.gov.hk. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- Home Affairs Department - District Officer function, Retrieved 2018-05-29