Delivering timely social and economic statistics

Hong Kong C&SD uses SAS® to better understand its population for future development

The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government aims to provide high-quality statistical services to facilitate policymaking and research within the government and in the community. It also strives to provide reliable and timely statistics, ensuring that statistics are compiled and disseminated in accordance with scientific principles, professional ethics and international standards.

For over two decades, SAS has been supporting the department in compiling various social and economic statistics reports, which involved tremendous volumes of data from a wide variety of sources. Through adopting SAS®, the department can achieve its mission to provide adequate, relevant, reliable and timely statistics.

Overall, we find the powerful SAS solutions ideal for preparing a wide range of social and economic statistics, allowing us to efficiently provide high-quality statistics as key references for planning Hong Kong’s future development

Dominic Leung
Deputy Commissioner

Statistics support long-term policymaking

SAS plays a key role in assisting C&SD to compile population, employment and wages statistics through the population censuses/by-censuses, General Household Survey, and surveys on labor earnings.

Population censuses

Since 1991, SAS has been supporting the department in delving into the data collected from population censuses/by-censuses and in turn preparing statistical reports. “We deal with many inquiries on population census/by-census data from both within the government and the public using SAS, which helps us accurately analyze population data,” said John Lam, Senior Statistician responsible for data collected from population censuses/by-censuses as well as demographic statistics. “SAS solutions facilitate us in meeting various types of ad hoc inquiries on population census data within a short period of time.”

In addition, SAS helps compile a wealth of demographic statistics for social studies. Millions of administrative records from the Immigration Department on births, deaths and passenger movements are processed with the support of SAS.

General Household Survey

The Social Statistics Division conducts the General Household Survey (GHS) on an ongoing basis, with a sample size of around 8,000 households every month. The results of GHS are used to compile Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, as well as statistics on the demographic and socio-economic profile of the population. “Using the SAS/IML® module for matrix manipulation in the compilation, together with SAS’ strong programming capability, have assisted statisticians in accurately compiling Hong Kong’s unemployment rate within a short time frame,” said Rebecca Siu, Senior Statistician overseeing the GHS.

Surveys on labor earnings

“With SAS, it’s easy to conduct cross-tabulations and temporal comparisons,” said Agnes Lo, Senior Statistician overseeing wages and labor costs statistics. “Efficiently tracking the trend of labor earnings is essential to assist the government in accurately measuring changes in wage distribution and wage differentials among employees over time.”

Trade statistics influence economic policy
The department’s Economic Statistics Division handles around 3 million data records from trade declarations every month. SAS helps the division compile trade indices, as well as conduct statistical analyses that reveal patterns in Hong Kong’s external merchandise trade. “External trade is one of the key economic activities in Hong Kong. Trade statistics provide a good reference to the government when planning local economic policy, and also to international organizations like the UN, WTO and IMF for understanding global trade patterns,” said George Ng, Senior Statistician overseeing trade analysis.

“Overall, we find the powerful SAS solutions ideal for preparing a wide range of social and economic statistics, allowing us to efficiently provide high-quality statistics as key references for planning Hong Kong’s future development,” said Dominic Leung, Deputy Commissioner of the department. “Following our positive experiences in working with SAS, we are extending the application of SAS to statistics compilation systems in other surveys. With SAS’ highly portable solutions, we are confident that the future changeover will be beneficial to our work.”


Transform immense volumes of disparate, raw data into statistics that facilitated policymaking and research within the government and in the community.


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Make better, more informed decisions while planning Hong Kong's future development.

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