Q: Is Unicode a 16-bit encoding?
A: No. The first version of Unicode was a 16-bit encoding, from 1991 to 1995, but starting with Unicode 2.0 (July, 1996), it has not been a 16-bit encoding. The Unicode Standard encodes characters in the range U+0000..U+10FFFF, which amounts to a 21-bit code space. Depending on the encoding form you choose (UTF-8, UTF-16, or UTF-32), each character will then be represented either as a sequence of one to four 8-bit bytes, one or two 16-bit code units, or a single 32-bit code unit.