The 2013 Macanese Survey is LIVE !

August 16th, 2013 2 Comments

The 2013 Portuguese-Macanese Population Survey is now live. Please use the following link to help us document the Macanese community world-wide. .

The first thing you’ll notice about the new survey is the definition of “Macanese”.

“We define “Macanese” broadly as: Anyone who is a descendant of mixed-race Portuguese from Asia with roots in China and India, and specifically in Goa, Macau, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Canton, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Timor. Your ancestors need not be from Macau, but there should be an ethnic connection in your family to the Portuguese in Asia during the last 500 years.”

In anticipation of some questions that may come up (I’ve already had a few), I wanted to provide some insight into why I chose this definition. First, you will notice from my last post about the Portuguese in Asia that Macau and Hong Kong were only two of the destinations settled by Portuguese in the last 500 years. The Portuguese first settled in Goa from 1511 to about 1720, and began migrating to Macau from 1557 to about 1841. Hong Kong became the third stop from 1841 to about 1980, then many Macanese migrated to different countries (the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Brazil) from 1945 through the late 1970s.

But these were not the only migrations of the Macanese from Macau. There were also Macanese who went to several sites in China and Asia, including Shanghai, Canton, Japan, Malaysia, India (Goa, Daman and Dui), Sri Lanka and Timor. Most of these migrations occurred from 1513 to 1740, and ceased when Japan closed its ports in 1639 and when the Dutch and the Spanish began to dominate the Malaccan peninsula and the Philippines around 1720.

In each of these settlements mixed-race Portuguese developed their own creole languages, incorporating Portuguese as the basis of their home language while remaining devoutly Catholic. These dual links, Portuguese and Catholicism, continue to tie the Macanese to many other countries throughout Asia, Australia, and the Americas to this day. Based on reputable sources, the number of “Macanese” in these additional locations may be as high as 1.5 million. (see the estimated totals below) Because of these cultural ties, it may be legitimate to include the current number of native Portuguese and creole speakers in Asia to our count of “Macanese” world-wide. However, we will conservatively estimate the number of Macanese to be 250,000 based on our own research.

The current survey is only intended to obtain a “profile” of Macanese from Casa de Macau organizations and individual respondents. But by doing so, we will receive indications about family size, country of origin, cultural identification, and the willingness of respondents to connect with other Macanese around the world. And these indications may well be applicable to the larger number of Macanese in the other countries.

I encourage anyone who is interested to fill out the short questionnaire.


Macanese Locations and Sources

Hong Kong – 500 to 10,000 (sources: (the lower number) Francisco da Rosa (FdR), Board Member, Lusitano Club of Hong Kong, in a letter sent to the director in August 2013, and (the higher number)

Macau – 29,000 (source: There are reportedly only 3000 speakers of the “Lingua Macista”. (FdR)

Malaysia – Singapore – 3000 (source:
( The Macanese patua is known locally as “nhonha”. The native Portuguese creole is known as Cristão or Papia Kristang – the Kristang language)

Timor – 272, 638 (or 36% of the total population of 741,530. Source: A New Country’s Tough Non-Elective: Portuguese 101, Seth Mydans, New York Times, July 31, 2007 )

Goa – 593,061 (approx. 4% of the total population 14.5 million. There were 5000 native creole speakers in 2006. The rest speak a variation of Portuguese: source: Indo-Portuguese Creole at Ethnologue (16th ed., 2009) . See also:

Daman and Dui – 14,500 (Source: Hugo Cardoso, The Death of an Indian-born Language, Open Magazine, October 30, 2010. and the Damanese Portuguese-Indian Association. The Daman Portuguese creole is known to its speakers as Língua da Casa)

Sri Lanka – 3,400 – (Sources: and wiki-pedia: – Approximately 3,400 of Portuguese descent speak the Sri Lankan Indo-Portuguese language.



    With due respect to all the efforts of this Research, but regret to say that it started off with the left foot !
    The term “MACAENSE” is erroneouly misleading. The proper term applicable is “MACAISTA” or “MAQUISTA CHAPADO” in Patuá.
    Your Academic point-of-view might apply in your books, but they don’t reflect the true reality of the “DIASPORA MACAENSE”.

  2. Home says:

    I’m amazed, I need to say. Very seldom will i see a blog that is both academic and enjoyable, and without a doubt, you strike the nail about the head. Your website is essential; the issue is something which quite a few people tend to be talking.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: