A native of Goa is called a Goan in English, 'Goenkar' in Konkani, 'Goês' (male) or 'Goesa' (female) in Portuguese, and a 'Govekar' in Marathi.
Goa has at present a population of 1.344 million residents, making it India's fourth smallest (after Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh). The population has a growth rate of 14.9% per annum. There are 363 people for each square kilometre of the land. 49.77% of the population live in urban areas. The sex ratio is 960 females to 1000 males. Goa's literacy rate is 82.32%, broken down into: males 88.88% and females 75.51%. Hinduism (65%), Catholicism (30%) and Islam are the three main religions in Goa. Roman Catholicism reached Goa during the period of European colonization, which began in 1498 when the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived on the Malabar coast. During the Goa Inquisition under the Portuguese, Hindus were forced to convert, and thousands of Hindus in Goa who refused - or were suspected of practising heresy - were burned alive.
Goa's major towns include Vasco, Madgaon, Marmagao (also known as Murgaon or Mormugão), Panjim and Mapusa. The region connecting the last four towns is considered a de facto conurbation, or a more or less continuous urban area.
Following the end of Portuguese rule, the most widely used languages are Konkani as the primary spoken language, and English and Marathi for official, literary or educational purposes. Language is a controversial issue in Goa, over which an agitation was fought between two contending pro-Konkani and pro-Marathi camps between 1985-87. After the agitation ended in 1987, a complex formula grants 'official language' status to Konkani, while Marathi is also allowed to be used 'for any or all official purposes'. Given the bitter rivalry between the two lobbies, clubbed with a maudlin issue has resulted in a stalemate over the actual implementation. Portuguese, the earlier language of the elite, has been hit by shrinking numbers, though a small section still prefer it as the medium for discourse at home, while even a few Portuguese books have been published in recent years. English, viewed as a language of opportunity and social mobility is widely understood by the many of the state residents. Hindi, India's national language, is also spoken as a second language.