The Hong Kong Council of Social Service initiated the project of Hong Kong Social Development Index in1999. It set out to develop a system of objective indicators , based on which a Hong Kong Social Development Index (SDI) has been developed subsequently. Through regular reporting, the Index aims to record and keep track of the progress of social development of Hong Kong and assess the social and economic needs of the entire society. It can be understood as an alarm system alerting the general public about the development trends and conditions of development of different domains and social groups in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Social Development Index includes: (1) a Weighted Social Development Index describing the state and progress of social development at the societal level; (2) 14 Subindexes describing the state and progress of development in the corresponding domains of development; and (3) 5 Subindexes describing the state and progress of development of the corresponding social groups. The SDI and these Subindexes are updated and released once every two years. Data for indicators constituting the indexes and other social indicators on social development are also updated in the same manner.
It is aimed at tracking local social development and overall assessment of social and economic needs. Indexes serve as warning signals, drawing the public attention to specific patterns of development of various domains and groups.