macrohistory & world report

Special Administrative Region of Macau

Map of Macau

Macau – to the right (east) of the China mainland

World Factbook as of November 2014: "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... Macau''s economy slowed dramatically in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown, but strong growth resumed in 2010-13, largely on the back of tourism from mainland China and the gaming sectors. In 2013, this city of 607,500 hosted nearly 29.3 million visitors. Almost 64% came from mainland China. Macau''s traditional manufacturing industry has slowed greatly since the termination of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. China is Macau''s second largest goods export market, behind Hong Kong, and followed by the United States... Macau''s currency, the pataca, is closely tied to the Hong Kong dollar, which is also freely accepted in the territory."

Estimated per capita GDP
2013: $88,700
2009: $33,000

GDP growth rate
2013: 11.9%
2012: 9.1%
2011: 21.3%

Traditionally a gambling center. An underwater casino and entertainment complex is planned, called the "City of Dreams."


July 2013, 583,003
July 2011: 573,003

Infant mortality (deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births)
2013: 3.13 deaths
2011: 3.16 deaths

Average life expectancy at birth:
2013: 84.48 years (second only to Monaco, at 89.57)
2011: 84.41 years (second only to Monaco)
2008: 82.35

Language: Portuguese and Cantonese. Chinese 95 percent. 

1997: Buddhist 50 percent. Roman Catholic 15 percent. None and other 35 percent.

2001 census: Cantonese 85.7%, Hokkien 4%, Mandarin 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 2.7%, English 1.5%, Tagalog 1.3%, other 1.6%


A region that extends from the Chinese mainland into the South China Sea, including two islands, all connected by bridges. An international airport. Size equivalent to 5 by 5 kilometers, or roughly 3 by 3 miles. 70 kilometers southwest of Hong Kong. Hydrofoil ferry service to and from Hong Kong 24 hours per day.


World Factbook: Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) 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.

Legislature: unicameral Legislative Assembly with 29 members, 12 members elected by popular vote, 10 by indirect vote, and 7 appointed by the chief executive; members to serve four-year terms.

Recent History

World Factbook: "Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East.

The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.