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Country Report Macau

Despite hard limits on space in Macau, the territory's population continues to rise rapidly, boosted by inflows of migrant labour, largely from mainland China. The resultant pressure on house prices and rental values has moved up the political agenda, even as economic growth goes into reverse. The government is trying to assuage some of the tensions that the new arrivals have created among long-term residents by raising social-security spending and investing in land reclamation. However, so far its efforts remain modest compared with the scale of the surge in population.

Macau recently reported a 4.7% rise in the territory's population in 2014, to 636,200. This represents an astonishing run-up of more than 100,000 people over the past five years in a territory with a current land area of just 31 sq km. This puts the territory's population density, of roughly 20,500 people per sq km, among the highest in the world. By comparison, the densely packed territories of Singapore and Hong Kong had population densities of 7,700 and 6,500 people per sq km respectively in 2014.

Of the 28,700 annual jump in Macau's resident population in 2014, only 5,400 was accounted for by natural increase, although the 12% rise in the number of births in the territory could point to a long-term acceleration in the natural growth rate of the population. The balance of 23,300 represented net migration into the territory, up by 11.5% compared with 2013. It remains to be seen whether the recent plunge in revenue taken by Macau's gambling industry will lead to a sharp fall in further migration. A large number of construction works in the pipeline support population numbers, as workers have been imported to help to build them. It seems likely that the increase in the population will not tail off while these projects are in progress.
Country Report Macau

Fitting them all in
Challenges of a population crush
Building into the Pearl River Delta
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