Photos of Macau

Introduction

Background

Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on 20 December 1999. In this agreement, China promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's political and economic system would not be imposed on Macau, and that Macau would enjoy a "high degree of autonomy" in all matters except foreign affairs and defense for the subsequent 50 years.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China

Geographic coordinates

22 10 N, 113 33 E

Map references

Southeast Asia

Area

total: 28 sq km

land: 28.2 sq km

water: 0 sq km

country comparison to the world: 236

Area - comparative

less than one-sixth the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 3 km

regional borders (1): China 3 km

Maritime claims

not specified

Climate

subtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers

Terrain

generally flat

Elevation

lowest point: South China Sea 0 m

highest point: Alto Coloane 172 m

Land use

agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)

arable land: 0% (2011 est.)

permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.)

permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)

forest: 0% (2011 est.)

other: 100% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population fairly equally distributed

Environment - current issues

air pollution; coastal waters pollution; insufficient policies in reducing and recycling solid wastes; increasing population density worsening noise pollution

Environment - international agreements

party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)

Geography - note

essentially urban; an area of land reclaimed from the sea measuring 5.2 sq km and known as Cotai now connects the islands of Coloane and Taipa; the island area is connected to the mainland peninsula by three bridges

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Chinese

adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups

Chinese 88.7%, Portuguese 1.1%, mixed 1.1%, other 9.2% (includes Macanese - mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry) (2016 est.)

Languages

Cantonese 80.1%, Mandarin 5.5%, other Chinese dialects 5.3%, Tagalog 3%, English 2.8%, Portuguese 0.6%, other 2.8% (2016 est.)

note: Chinese and Portuguese are official languages

Religions

folk religionist 58.9%, Buddhist 17.3%, Christian 7.2%, other 1.2%, none 15.4% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 13.43% (male 42,449/female 40,051)

15-24 years: 10.45% (male 33,845/female 30,354)

25-54 years: 49% (male 134,302/female 166,762)

55-64 years: 14.57% (male 44,512/female 45,007)

65 years and over: 12.56% (male 36,223/female 40,953) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 35.7

youth dependency ratio: 19.5

elderly dependency ratio: 16.2

potential support ratio: 6.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 40.8 years

male: 40.7 years

female: 40.9 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Birth rate

9.41 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 223

Death rate

4.64 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28

Net migration rate

3.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

Population distribution

population fairly equally distributed

Urbanization

urban population: 100% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 1.63% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.12 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.81 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 4.69 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.77 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 4.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 233

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 84.81 years

male: 81.89 years

female: 87.86 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

2.41 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.5%

male: 98.2%

female: 95% (2016)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2019)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 5.3%

male: 6.7%

female: 3.9% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Macau Special Administrative Region

conventional short form: Macau

official long form: Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese); Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese)

official short form: Aomen (Chinese); Macau (Portuguese)

etymology: name is thought to derive from the A-Ma Temple - built in 1488 and dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of seafarers and fishermen - which is referred to locally as "Maa Gok" - and in Portuguese became "Macau"; the Chinese name Aomen means "inlet gates"

Dependency status

special administrative region of the People's Republic of China

Government type

executive-led limited democracy; a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China

Administrative divisions

none (special administrative region of the People's Republic of China)

Independence

none (special administrative region of China)

National holiday

National Day (anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949); note - 20 December (1999) is celebrated as Macau Special Administrative Region Establishment Day

Constitution

history: previous 1976 (Organic Statute of Macau, under Portuguese authority); latest adopted 31 March 1993, effective 20 December 1999 (Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China serves as Macau's constitution)

amendments: proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the People’s Republic of China State Council, and the Macau Special Administrative Region; submittal of proposals to the NPC requires two-thirds majority vote by the Legislative Assembly of Macau, approval by two thirds of Macau's deputies to the NPC, and consent of the Macau chief executive; final passage requires approval by the NPC; amended 2005, 2012

Legal system

civil law system based on the Portuguese model

Citizenship

see China

Suffrage

18 years of age in direct elections for some legislative positions, universal for permanent residents living in Macau for the past 7 years; note - indirect elections are limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" and an election committee for the chief executive drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, central government bodies, and elected Macau officials

Executive branch

chief of state: President of China XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013)

head of government: Chief Executive HO Iat Seng (since 20 December 2019)

cabinet: Executive Council appointed by the chief executive

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by National People's Congress for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023);chief executive chosen by a 400-member Election Committee for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 24 August 2019 (next to be held in 2024)

election results: Fernando CHUI Sai On reelected chief executive; Election Committee vote - 380 of 396; note - HO Iat Seng was elected chief executive (receiving 392 out of 400 votes) on 24 August 2019 and will take office on 20 December 2019

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Assembly or Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (33 seats; 14 members directly elected by proportional representation vote, 12 indirectly elected by an electoral college of professional and commercial interest groups, and 7 appointed by the chief executive; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 17 September 2017 (next to be held in 2021)

election results: percent of vote - UMG 10%, UPD 9.7%, ACUM 8.6%, NE 8.3%, UPP 7.2, ANMD 6.6%, NUDM 6.1%, ACDM 5.9%, APMD 5.8%, Civic Watch 5.6%, ABL 5.5%, ANPM 5.3%, other 15.4%; seats by political group - UMG 2, UPD 2, ABL 1, ACDM 1, ACUM 1, ANMD 1, ANPM 1, APMD 1, Civic Watch 1, NE 1, NUDM 1, UPP 1; 12 seats filled by professional and business groups; 7 members appointed by the chief executive; composition - men 27, women 6, percent of women 18.6%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Court of Final Appeal of Macau Special Administrative Region (consists of the court president and 2 associate justices)

judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the Macau chief executive upon the recommendation of an independent commission of judges, lawyers, and "eminent" persons; judge tenure NA

subordinate courts: Court of Second Instance; Court of First instance; Lower Court; Administrative Court

Political parties and leaders

Alliance for Change or APM [Melinda CHAN Mei-yi]
Alliance for a Happy Home or ABL [WONG Kit-cheng] (an electoral list of UPP)
Civic Watch or Civico [Agnes LAM Iok-fong]
Macau-Guangdong Union or UMG [MAK Soi-kun]
Macau Citizens' Development Association or ACDM [Becky SONG Pek-kei] (an electoral list of ACUM)New Democratic Macau Association or ANMD [AU Kam-san]
New Hope or NE [Jose Maria Pereira COUTINHO]
New Macau Association (New Macau Progressives) or AMN or ANPM [Sulu SOU Ka-hou]
New Union for Macau's Development or NUDM [Angela LEONG On-kei]
Prosperous Democratic Macau Association or APMD (an electoral list of AMN)
Union for Development or UPD [Ella LEI Cheng-I]
Union for Promoting Progress or UPP [HO Ion-sang]
United Citizens Association of Macau or ACUM [CHAN Meng-kam]

note: there is no political party ordinance, so there are no registered political parties; politically active groups register as societies or companies

International organization participation

ICC (national committees), IHO, IMF, IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), ISO (correspondent), UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (Special Administrative Region of China)

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US has no offices in Macau; US Consulate General in Hong Kong is accredited to Macau

Flag description

green with a lotus flower above a stylized bridge and water in white, beneath an arc of five gold, five-pointed stars: one large in the center of the arc and two smaller on either side; the lotus is the floral emblem of Macau, the three petals represent the peninsula and two islands that make up Macau; the five stars echo those on the flag of China

National symbol(s)

lotus blossom; national colors: green, white, yellow

National anthem

note: as a Special Administrative Region of China, "Yiyongjun Jinxingqu" is the official anthem (see China)

Economy

Economic overview

Since opening up its locally-controlled casino industry to foreign competition in 2001, Macau has attracted tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment, transforming the territory into one of the world's largest gaming centers. Macau's gaming and tourism businesses were fueled by China's decision to relax travel restrictions on Chinese citizens wishing to visit Macau. In 2016, Macau's gaming-related taxes accounted for more than 76% of total government revenue.

Macau's economy slowed dramatically in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown, but strong growth resumed in the 2010-13 period, largely on the back of tourism from mainland China and the gaming sectors. In 2015, this city of 646,800 hosted nearly 30.7 million visitors. Almost 67% came from mainland China. Macau's traditional manufacturing industry has slowed greatly since the termination of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. Services export — primarily gaming — increasingly has driven Macau’s economic performance. Mainland China’s anti-corruption campaign brought Macau’s gambling boom to a halt in 2014, with spending in casinos contracting 34.3% in 2015. As a result, Macau's inflation-adjusted GDP contracted 21.5% in 2015 and another 2.1% in 2016 - down from double-digit expansion rates in the period 2010-13 - but the economy recovered handsomely in 2017.

Macau continues to face the challenges of managing its growing casino industry, risks from money-laundering activities, and the need to diversify the economy away from heavy dependence on gaming revenues. Macau's currency, the pataca, is closely tied to the Hong Kong dollar, which is also freely accepted in the territory.

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.7% (2019 est.)

3% (2018 est.)

1.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AA (2018)

Moody's rating: Aa3 (2016)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$53.841 billion (2019 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0% (2016 est.)

industry: 6.3% (2017 est.)

services: 93.7% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 24.2% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 9.9% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 18.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0.8% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 79.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -32% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

pork, poultry, beef, pig fat, pig offals, eggs, pepper, cattle offals, cattle hides, goose/guinea fowl meat

Industries

tourism, gambling, clothing, textiles, electronics, footwear, toys

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 2.5%

industry: 9.8%

services: 4.4%

industry and services: 12.4%

agriculture/fishing/forestry/mining: 15%

manufacturing: 25.9%

construction: 7.1%

transportation and utilities: 2.6%

commerce: 20.3% (2013 est.)

Budget

revenues: 14.71 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 9.684 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

0% of GDP (2017 est.)

0% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 210

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$16.75 billion (2017 est.)

$12.22 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

Exports

$1.45 billion (2018)

note: includes reexports

country comparison to the world: 150

Exports - partners

Hong Kong 62.1%, China 16.5%, US 1% (2018)

Exports - commodities

clothing, textiles, footwear, toys, electronics, machinery and parts

Imports

$11.1 billion (2018)

$9.7 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

Imports - partners

China 35%, Italy 8.6%, Hong Kong 7.8%, France 8.4%, Switzerland 7.7%, Japan 8.1%, US 4.1% (2018)

Imports - commodities

raw materials and semi-manufactured goods, consumer goods (foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco, garments and footwear, motor vehicles), capital goods, mineral fuels and oils

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$20.17 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$18.89 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

note: the Fiscal Reserves Act that came into force on 1 January 2012 requires the fiscal reserves to be separated from the foreign exchange reserves and to be managed separately; the transfer of assets took place in February 2012

country comparison to the world: 59

Debt - external

$0 (31 December 2013)

$0 (31 December 2012)

country comparison to the world: 207

Exchange rates

patacas (MOP) per US dollar -

8 (2017 est.)

7.9951 (2016 est.)

7.9951 (2015 est.)

7.985 (2014 est.)

7.9871 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 119,355

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 19.55 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 135

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 2,108,274

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 345.33 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 148

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: modern communication facilities maintained for domestic and international services; high mobile subscriber numbers and mobile penetration with 4 network operators; offering 4G, LTE services and 1st phase of 5G network rollout; possible synchronizing with neighboring regions; Macau's smart city project spans areas of transportation, medical services, tourism and 3-government (2020)

domestic: fixed-line 20 per 100 and mobile-cellular 345 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 853; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and Europe; HF radiotelephone communication facility; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

local government dominates broadcast media; 2 television stations operated by the government with one broadcasting in Portuguese and the other in Cantonese and Mandarin; 1 cable TV and 4 satellite TV services available; 3 radio stations broadcasting, of which 2 are government-operated (2019)

Internet users

total: 508,052

percent of population: 83.79% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 152

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 193,057

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 32 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (registered in China) (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21 (registered in China)

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 3,157,724 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 31.84 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 1

Heliports

2 (2013)

Roadways

total: 428 km (2017)

paved: 428 km (2017)

country comparison to the world: 199

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Macau

Military and Security

Military and security forces

no regular indigenous military forces

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of China; the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) maintains a garrison in Macau

Transnational Issues

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for drugs going into mainland China; consumer of opiates and amphetamines