The current global population is over 6 billion and is expected to reach 9 billion in the next 50 years.
Population growth is primarily driven by developing countries, particularly in Africa. However, Hong Kong is experiencing a decline in its birth rate, which is also referred to as the population growth rate. In fact, Hong Kong currently has the lowest birth rate globally. According to a report by the Census and Statistics Department, mainland couples are expected to have approximately 30,000 babies per year compared to 69,000 births in Hong Kong. In 2006, there were 984 births per 1000 expectant mothers. Future projections for the next three decades indicate a birth rate of less than 900 births per 1000 expectant mothers.
The Census and Statistics Department's graph displays the birth rate changes. Fig. 1.1 shows the population in 1996 with lines, while bars represent...
the population in 2006. The graph clearly depicts a declining birth rate in Hong Kong, forming a reverse triangle shape. Furthermore, it is noticeable that the birth rate has been continuously decreasing from 1981 to 2006.
Essentially, the authorities have acknowledged the issue as they prioritized it during a legislative council meeting. While a decrease in birth rate may contribute to conserving sustainable resources worldwide, it also brings about various societal challenges. Aging is undoubtedly a significant problem prevalent in society.
The negative effects of an aging population on society include an increased tax burden for taxpayers due to a declining birth rate. This results in fewer people contributing to the tax system. Additionally, there will be a larger number of elderly individuals, leading to an unhealthy population. As a result, the government will encounte
financial difficulties in providing medical services and healthcare for seniors, as well as retirement benefits like social security allowance.
In order to address the decreasing demand caused by a decline in children enrolling, the education system might require reform. Consequently, schools with low birth rates could potentially be closed down, resulting in increased unemployment among professionals such as teachers. This scenario has already manifested within our society, specifically in 2006.
Many schools are at risk of closure due to a lack of students. Therefore, it is necessary for the authorities to increase the birth rate by establishing a commission that addresses this issue. One effective approach is for the government to encourage citizens to improve the birth rate.
1.2 Research Objective
The objective of this study is to identify the reasons behind low birth rates and determine possible solutions. Additionally, we aim not only to understand the causes but also explore ways in which the government can assist.
Therefore, our research aims will be set as follows: Understand the cause of low birth rate. Measure the effectiveness of various methods to increase birth rate. Understand the value of promoting childbirth. Measure the impact of different media on the decision to have a child. Obtain demographic information of the respondents.
Through this marketing research, our goal is to comprehensively comprehend the reasons for the low birth rate and discover effective solutions to enhance it. This will help prevent future generations from being burdened by heavy government taxes and establish reliable government-endorsed approaches. Addressing the issue of an aging population will also lead to financial reform, enabling subsidies to be allocated in other areas and making Hong Kong an extremely desirable city
to reside in.
2.1 Exploratory Research
To gain insights into the issue of low birth rate, we utilized exploratory research techniques such as secondary data analysis and focus groups.
The Hong Kong government has acknowledged the significance of low birth rate and provides a wealth of information on this topic through its Census and Statistics Department's website and newspapers. We chose to use secondary data due to its cost-effectiveness and ability to provide useful background information. Moreover, since some of the information is collected from the official Hong Kong Government department, it can be considered reliable. The government's active efforts in addressing low birth rate through policies and campaigns also played a role in shaping our questionnaire design.
Focus groups are a type of qualitative research where a moderator asks a group of people their opinions on various subjects like products, services, concepts, advertisements, or ideas. The main aim is to encourage participants to openly discuss their true feelings and strong beliefs. This method allows for quick data collection, easy implementation, and flexibility at low expenses. Our goal in establishing these focus groups is to understand the reasons behind declining birth rates, evaluate different methods' effectiveness in increasing birth rates, gain insight into the importance individuals place on having children, assess how different media influences the decision to have children, and gather demographic information. Through these focus groups, we can thoroughly examine cultural and social groups while exploring potential research opportunities and uncovering unforeseen issues or topics. We intend to arrange two focus groups with six respondents each.
Furthermore, it is necessary to involve a professional analyst to lead the focus group discussion. Additionally, we should reserve a
one-way mirror room to monitor the progress of the focus group. The most important aspect is to document the discussion through note-taking in case the video recording devices are not functional. The subject of the discussion revolved around five key issues related to birth rate: reasons impacting birth rate, strategies for improving birth rate, the significance of birth rate, methods to promote generation, and demographic factors.
An analyst is needed to lead a focal point group discussion on various topics related to childbearing, including methods for achieving it, associated expenses, the impact of having a child, proposed methods for encouraging population growth, and how government policies promote population growth.
- How can childbearing be achieved?
- What are the expenses associated with having a child?
- What impact do you believe having a child has?
- Which methods do you propose for encouraging population growth?
- How do you think government policies promote population growth?
Summary of Findings Section
In March, we conducted a focal point group discussion regarding the issue of low birth rate. The participants unanimously agreed that late marriage is the prevailing trend in Hong Kong due to many women prioritizing their careers.
The primary reason for the low birth rate is identified as the cost of raising a child. It is suggested that individuals who choose to have a baby may need to sacrifice their careers, potentially resulting in fewer job opportunities and social isolation. There is also a focus on increasing the birth rate among the middle class, accompanied by proposed strategies to accomplish this objective.
The majority of individuals believe that government subsidies are a helpful means of assistance. They find education allowance to
be the most effective form, as their children require approximately 10 years of studying. This subsidy is beneficial as it helps save costs. However, people do not prioritize public housing as they believe it is more relevant to marriage expenses rather than having a child.
They believe that holding a baby brings forth their strain and they think that Television commercials encouraged by the government are an effective way to do so. This is because visual and auditory stimuli help them remember information.
2.2 Quantitative Research
To choose an appropriate method for our case, we want to use promenade intercept personal interviews for collecting primary data.
The procedure consists of pausing the marks, evaluating their accuracy, and either conducting the study on-site or transferring them to a research facility located in the mall to complete the interview. Additionally, we decided to set up at Women Health Centre and the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong, among others, in order to obtain the desired outcome that corresponds with our expectations and purpose. The characteristic of this method is limited to conducting the survey at a specific location, but data collection is fast, and managers find it easier to achieve the required amount within a set timeframe. This approach will have the greatest influence on interviewee responses.
Despite the limitations in geographical flexibility, conducting a successful survey can still involve a significant number of targeted respondents. However, maintaining respondent anonymity does not guarantee active collaboration. Furthermore, follow-up or recall efforts may present challenges but are not insurmountable. Interviewers can assist respondents in answering more effectively during face-to-face interviews by providing clear explanations to the questions asked.
One option to minimize misinterpretation of questions
is to use phone surveys as a backup for face-to-face interviews in shopping malls. Phone surveys are cost-effective and have good response rates, making them a suitable alternative if any issues arise during the mall interviews.
When designing our questionnaire, there are several considerations to keep in mind. First, each question should have a purpose and determine whether an open-ended or close-ended response is desired. Additionally, we should focus on the wording of the questionnaire. To avoid confusion, we have used concise and straightforward language instead of lengthy questions.
To enhance cogency, we employ loaded and premise inquiries to prevent emotional and socially desirable responses. It is imperative to ensure that all response options are exclusive and to address any ambiguity in how the question is phrased. Moreover, it is crucial to ascertain if respondents may interpret words differently. We emphasize employing personal pronouns (gender references) cautiously, avoiding solely using "him" or "her" unless referring to a particular gender. For consistent communication, it is preferable to pose specific rather than general questions. Double negatives should be eschewed, particularly when utilizing Agree/Disagree.
2.3 Research Instrument: Scale
In our questionnaire, we used the Interval Scale for questions Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4. This scale measures concepts where the distance on the scale has consistent meaning regardless of its position. However, a value of "0" on this scale does not indicate the absence of the measured entity. Examples of Interval Scales include temperature scales like Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Our questionnaire utilized the Nominal Scale in questions 5B, 5C, 5D, and 5E. This scale classifies data into distinct categories while maintaining order and equal intervals. For instance, we employed this scale to gather information
on gender (options: "Male" and "Female") as well as marital status (options: "Single", "Married", and "Divorced"). Categorical data is structured based on these classifications. Additionally, the Ordinal Scale was used in questions 5A, 5F, and 5G.
An ordinal measurement scale is a scale that assigns values to objects based on their ranking in relation to each other. For example, in Q.5G, we are asking about the monthly income of each grade category, ranging from Less than $5000 to above $30,000. While it is known that some grades have higher income than others, it is not specified by how much. All we know is that there are 5 categories, with certain categories having higher income than others.
The class increases as the value assigned increases.
2.3.2 Pretest Procedure
Prior to publishing the questionnaire, a pretest is conducted to ensure comprehension of its contents and identify any potential errors. Gathering information on these issues is crucial for making necessary corrections. Neglecting to properly adjust the survey may lead to obtaining inaccurate information.
In order to ensure the effectiveness of our pretest, we will read the questionnaire at least 15 times after setting it up. Additionally, we will ask 15 respondents to test our questionnaire. Finding appropriate respondents is crucial for increasing the effectiveness of the pretest. We plan to include professionals such as English instructors, lecturers, classmates from universities, and even our parents as respondents for our Low Birth Rate questionnaires. We have chosen them for the questionnaire pretest process because some of them have enough knowledge to identify and address our issues. For example, English instructors can correct grammar and spelling errors and rephrase questions to a more suitable format. Lecturers
can evaluate the flow of questions and provide suggestions, ensuring that we use the multiple-grid format and categorize them properly.
Receiving feedback from classmates simplifies the completion of certain tasks, as it allows us to anticipate the grading of our questionnaire and estimate the required time. It also enables us to organize follow-up questions systematically. For instance, during the initial testing phase, we made adjustments to enhance clarity in our questionnaire. To illustrate this, we substituted "Most Important" with "Very Important" and "Least Important" with "Very Unimportant". Furthermore, instead of using a single word such as "Occupation", we opted for a complete sentence: "Are you working now? (If yes, please continue to answer the following questions. Otherwise, skip to Hi?z)".
Sampling is the process of selecting a smaller group from a larger population to collect information. It is a cost-effective and time-saving method compared to surveying the entire population. For this study, our focus is on individuals who have visited both the Women's Health Centre and the Family Planning Association. This specific group is chosen because they are believed to possess relevant interest and knowledge about birth rates.
To create our market group, we will employ the convenience sampling method, a non-probability approach. Our market group comprises anonymous individuals chosen using this non-probability sampling technique. As part of our research, we will randomly select the most readily available individuals for interviews. Nevertheless, our sample size will be 200 respondents. The promenade intercept personal interview method is ideal for our research and provides numerous benefits.
The promenade intercept is a fast and inexpensive method for conducting personal interviews. It allows for a large number of respondents to be surveyed
and allows for control over the pace of the study. In order to survey a large number of respondents in our target group, we have decided to conduct interviews at the Women Health Centre and the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong within three days. Since the promenade intercept involves face-to-face contact with the interviewees, it will make it easier for us to follow up and clarify any unclear or misunderstood responses.
These advantages will motivate us to continue our research and study. However, it is important to note that there is no flawless method in existence. Therefore, we must choose the method that has the fewest disadvantages. In the case of the survey we plan to conduct, we will need a significant amount of manpower to carry it out. As a result, this will increase the cost of research by incurring expenses for hiring interviewers.
In addition, a lack of accuracy and difficulty in tracking job outcomes are disadvantages of this method. Moreover, the consequence sampling may not be representative of the entire population in a given area. Therefore, it is necessary to find solutions to address these issues. One solution is to avoid using volunteers as group members for the research.
Potentially, the cost of employment may be lower in comparison. To improve accuracy, increasing the number of interview locations can enhance the representativeness of the results. Additionally, after conducting the survey, interviewees should kindly ask respondents to leave their contact information if they are willing. This could potentially improve the limitations of the survey method. We will conduct the survey at three selected locations over a span of three days. On April 28th, we
will conduct it at the Family Planning Association in Wan Chai, and on the following day (April 29th), we will conduct it at the Women's Association in Tuen Mun.
On the 30th of April, we will establish the Family Planning Association at Wong Tai Sin. Interviewers will be assigned to three different locations to carry out their duties. Each location will have a team of three members who will be present during operation hours. The reason for selecting these three locations is to improve the accuracy of the sampling across districts.
In addition, it is easy for people who are concerned about the birth rate to decide whether to have a child or not.
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