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.



Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China

Geographic coordinates

22 10 N, 113 33 E

Map references

Southeast Asia


total: 28.2 sq km
land: 28.2 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

less than one-sixth the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 3 km
regional border (1): China 3 km


41 km

Maritime claims

not specified


subtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers


generally flat


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Coloane Alto 172 m

Natural resources


Land use

agricultural land: 0%
arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 0%
other: 100% (urban area) (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards


Environment - current issues


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

Ethnic groups

Chinese 92.4%, Portuguese 0.6%, mixed 1.1%, other 5.9% (includes Macanese - mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry) (2011 est.)


note: Macau's statistical agency estimated the total population to be approximately 646,800 as of 31 December 2015 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Chinese
adjective: Chinese


Cantonese 83.3%, Mandarin 5%, Hokkien 3.7%, English 2.3%, other Chinese dialects 2%, Tagalog 1.7%, Portuguese 0.7%, other 1.3%
note: Chinese and Portuguese are official languages (2011 est.)


Buddhist 50%, Roman Catholic 15%, none or other 35% (1997 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 14.22% (male 44,295/female 40,679)
15-24 years: 12.36% (male 38,772/female 35,052)
25-54 years: 50.41% (male 134,113/female 167,022)
55-64 years: 12.97% (male 39,020/female 38,486)
65 years and over: 10.04% (male 28,048/female 31,938) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 28.2%
youth dependency ratio: 16.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 11.5%
potential support ratio: 8.7% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 38.7 years
male: 39.1 years
female: 38.5 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.77% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

8.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

4.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

3.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 100% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.11 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.8 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.91 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 84.5 years
male: 81.6 years
female: 87.6 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

0.94 children born/woman (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Education expenditures

2% of GDP (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.2%
male: 98%
female: 94.6% (2015 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 5.3%
male: 5.9%
female: 4.5% (2014 est.)


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 which in Portuguese became "Macau"; the Chinese name Aomen means "inlet gates"

Government type

presidential limited democracy; a special administrative region of the PRC

Dependency status

special administrative region of the People's Republic of China

Administrative divisions

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


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


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); amended 2005, 2012 (2016)

Legal system

civil law system based on the Portuguese model


see China


18 years of age in direct elections for some legislative positions, universal for permanent residents living in Macau for the past seven years; note - indirect elections are limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" (973 were registered in the 2009 legislative elections) and a 400-member 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 Fernando CHUI Sai On (since 20 December 2009)
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); chief executive chosen by a 400-member Election Committee for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 August 2014 (next to be held in 2019); note - the Legislative Assembly in August 2012 voted to expand the Election Committee to 400 from 300 seats for the 2014 election
election results: Fernando CHUI Sai On reelected chief executive; Election Committee vote count - 380 of 396

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Legislative Council 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 15 September 2013 (next to be held in September 2017)
election results: percent of vote - ACUM 18.0%, UMG 11.1%, UPP 10.8%, NE 9.0%, NUDM 8.9%, UPD 8.2%, APMD 7.5%, ANMD 6.0%, APM 6.0%, other 14.5%; seats by political group - ACUM 3, UMG 2, UPP 2, NE 2, NUDM 1, UPD 1, APMD 1, ANMD 1, APM 1; 12 seats filled by professional and business groups; 7 members appointed by the chief executive

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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]
Macau-Guangdong Union or UMG [MAK Soi-kun]
New Democratic Macau Association or ANMD (an electoral list of the New Macau Association)
New Hope or NE [Jose Maria Pereira COUTINHO]
New Macau Association or ANM [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 the New Macau Association)
Union for Development or UPD [KWAN Tsui-hang]
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

Political pressure groups and leaders

Bar-Bending Workers' Association [WONG Wai-Man]
Civic Power [Agnes LAM lok-fong]
Democratic Action [LEE Kin-yun]
Macau New Chinese Youth Association [LEONG Sin-man]
Macau Worker's Union [HO Heng-kuok]
New Macau Association [Antonio NG Kuok-cheong]
Workers' Self-Help Union [CHEONG Weng-fat]

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

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 - 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 to

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 2015, this city of 646,800 hosted nearly 30.7 mill

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 t

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$63.22 billion (2016 est.)
$66.38 billion (2015 est.)
$83.33 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$44.07 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

-4.7% (2016 est.)
-20.3% (2015 est.)
-0.9% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$96,100 (2016 est.)
$102,600 (2015 est.)
$131,000 (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 28.7%
government consumption: 11%
investment in fixed capital: 21%
investment in inventories: -0.1%
exports of goods and services: 73.7%
imports of goods and services: -34.3% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0%
industry: 11.2%
services: 88.8% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

only 2% of land area is cultivated, mainly by vegetable growers; fishing, mostly for crustaceans, is important; some of the catch is exported to Hong Kong


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

Industrial production growth rate

3% (2016 est.)

Labor force

400,000 (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

manufacturing: 2.5%
construction: 9.8%
transport and communications: 4.4%
wholesale and retail trade: 12.4%
restaurants and hotels: 15%
gambling: 25.9%
public sector: 7.1%
financial services: 2.6%
other services: 20.3% (2013)

Unemployment rate

1.9% (2016 est.)
1.8% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index

35 (2013)
38 (2008)


revenues: $12.12 billion
expenditures: $7.004 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

27.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

11.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.3% (2016 est.)
4.6% (2015 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

5.4% (31 December 2016 est.)
5.25% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$6.96 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.623 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$64.67 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$55.29 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$18.08 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.09 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$85.5 billion (2 March 2012 est.)
$46.1 billion (31 February 2011 est.)
$2.3 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Current account balance

$12.51 billion (2016 est.)
$12.92 billion (2015 est.)


$1.137 billion (2013 est.)
$1.903 billion (2014 est.)
note: includes reexports

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

Hong Kong 63.4%, China 18.2% (2015)


$14.2 billion (2014 est.)
$10.13 billion (2013 est.)

Imports - commodities

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

Imports - partners

China 33.8%, Hong Kong 8.8%, Japan 8.5%, Switzerland 8%, France 6.9%, Italy 6.7%, US 6.7% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$18.89 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$16.44 billion (31 December 2014 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

Debt - external

$0 (31 December 2013)
$0 (31 December 2012)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$18.91 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$14.91 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$1.166 billion (2012 est.)
$667.8 million (2011 est.)

Exchange rates

patacas (MOP) per US dollar -
8.01 (2016 est.)
7.985 (2015 est.)
7.985 (2014 est.)
7.9871 (2013 est.)
7.99 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 59,742
electrification - total population: 91%
electrification - urban areas: 91%
electrification - rural areas: 72% (2012)

Electricity - production

600 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

4.5 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

4.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

500,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

11,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

10,750 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

355,000 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

371,000 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

1.8 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total: 146,138
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 25 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 1.896 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 320 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: fairly modern communication facilities maintained for domestic and international services
domestic: termination of monopoly over mobile-cellular telephone services in 2001 spurred sharp increase in subscriptions with mobile-cellular teledensity exceeding 300 per 100 persons; fixed-line subscribership appears to have peaked and is now in decline
international: country code - 853; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; HF radiotelephone communication facility; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2015)

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 w (2015)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 460,000
percent of population: 77.6% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (registered in China)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 17 (registered in China)
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,276,436
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 25.435 million mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

B-M (2016)


1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)


2 (2013)


total: 424 km
paved: 424 km (2014)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Macau


Military branches

no regular indigenous military forces

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of China

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Illicit drugs

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