Districts of Hong Kong

Districts of Hong Kong

Category Unitary unit
Location Hong Kong
Number 18 districts
Populations 137,122 (Islands) – 607,544 (Sha Tin)
Areas 10 km2 (4 sq mi) (Yau Tsim Mong) – 220 km2 (84 sq mi) (North)
Government Central government
Subdivisions Constituency
Politics and government
of Hong Kong
Foreign relations

Related topics

Hong Kong portal

The Districts of Hong Kong are the 18 political areas by which Hong Kong is geographically divided. Each district has a district council, formerly district boards, for which the districts 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, fire services, health services and hospital authority, and postal service[2] each define their own idiosyncratic geographic divisions. However major departments, such as the Education Bureau, do provide information based on district.


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.[3] 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.[4][5]

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. 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 was 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.


The map depicting population density of Hong Kong by district.

The population density per district varies from 783 (Islands) to 52,123 (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 2006 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 [6] Area
Central and Western 中西區 244,600 12.44 19,983.92 Hong Kong Island
Eastern 東區 574,500 18.56 31,217.67 Hong Kong Island
Southern 南區 269,200 38.85 6,962.68 Hong Kong Island
Wan Chai 灣仔區 150,900 9.83 15,300.10 Hong Kong Island
Sham Shui Po 深水埗區 390,600 9.35 41,529.41 Kowloon
Kowloon City 九龍城區 405,400 10.02 40,194.70 Kowloon
Kwun Tong 觀塘區 641,100 11.27 56,779.05 Kowloon
Wong Tai Sin 黃大仙區 426,200 9.30 45,645.16 Kowloon
Yau Tsim Mong 油尖旺區 318,100 6.99 44,864.09 Kowloon
Islands 離島區 146,900 175.12 825.14 New Territories
Kwai Tsing 葵青區 507,100 23.34 21,503.86 New Territories
North 北區 310,800 136.61 2,220.19 New Territories
Sai Kung 西貢區 448,600 129.65 3,460.08 New Territories
Sha Tin 沙田區 648,200 68.71 9,433.85 New Territories
Tai Po 大埔區 307,100 136.15 2,220.35 New Territories
Tsuen Wan 荃灣區 303,600 61.71 4,887.38 New Territories
Tuen Mun 屯門區 495,900 82.89 5,889.38 New Territories
Yuen Long 元朗區 607,200 138.46 4,297.99 New Territories

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.

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:

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 second-term district councils, comprising 529 members (400 elected, 102 appointed by the chief executive and 27 ex-officio who are chairmen of the rural committees in the New Territories), commenced on 1 January 2004.

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 Nov 2013
  2. Hongkong Post: Delivery Office Information
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Levine, Philippa. [2003] (2003) Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire. United Kingdom: Routledge Publishing. ISBN 0-415-94446-5
  6. Population and Household Statistics Analysed by District Council District http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp150.jsp?productCode=B1130301

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