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December 30, 2011

MACAU: Census data shows population is becoming older

MACAU, SAR  / Macau Daily Times / Census / December 30, 2011

By Vítor Quintã

With a big part of the population now aged between 55 and 64 years old
the number of elderly will increase fast in the next few years,
preliminary data from the 2011 census shows
In the last decade the Macau population has become older, less children are being born and the number of elderly will likely soar in the next few years, the preliminary results of the 2011 census show. 

According to data released yesterday, there are 65,900 children up to 14 years old in Macau, which accounts for just 11.9 percent of the population. This figure represents a huge decrease from 2001, when youth took up 21.6 percent.

Currently Macau has the second best demographic profile in the world, only behind Qatar, as the working-age population reached 446,600. Adults below 65 now account for 80.8 percent of the total, up from 71.1 percent a decade ago.

With locals living longer, as life expectancy rose to 82.7 years, the median age of the population topped 36 years, up from 33.3 years in the previous census, carried out in 2001.
The increase in the number of immigrants and non-resident workers was able to slightly cut the percentage of elderly to 7.2 percent of the total, at 40,000.

But the director of the Statistics and Census Bureau, Vanessa Kong Pek Fong, stressed that a big part of the population is now aged between 55 and 64 years old. As such, they will be classified as elderly as well in the next few years. “This is one of the most important issues we are facing now,” she said.

And Macau’s birth rate, even though it has picked up in the last few years, is still too low to balance the big number of people reaching retirement, the official warned.

Density champion

The reclamation works undertaken in the last decade were still unable to keep with the growing number of inhabitants, which grew by 26.9 percent to 552,500.

As a result Macau’s population density rose 10.3 percent to 18,600 people per square kilometre. The territory strengthened its position as the world’s most densely populated city’s, in front of Monaco.

But the figures are even more staggering in some northern Macau districts, namely in Areia Preta and Iao Hon (142,300 people per square kilometre), Red Market (133,700) and Lam Mau (129,100).

According to this data, the Areia Preta and Iao Han district has the highest population density in the world, overtaking Hong Kong’s Mong Kok, where density reached 130,000 people per square kilometre, according to Guinness World of Records.

Areia Preta and Iao Hon is also the area where most people live, 66,900, but downtown Taipa was the fastest growing district with 26,200 further residents taking its total to 55,400.
The census found 233,870 building units, of which an overwhelming majority (81.8 percent) are residential flats. A significant number, over 23,000, are still vacant but the percentage of empty apartments actually slumped heavily, from 24.4 to 9.9 percent.

Data also reveals that more people are renting a house, as only 70.4 percent of the inhabitants are homeowners, down by 6.1 points from the previous census. “Most young people cannot afford to buy a flat and non-resident workers always rent as well,” Kong said.

Copyright: Macau Times Publications Ltd. 

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