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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Population: demographic situation, languages and religions


1.Political, social and economic background and trends

1.3Population: demographic situation, languages and religions

Last update: 8 June 2022

Portugal is a democratic republic, situated on the westernmost tip of Europe, boasting a total area of 92 152 km². It is part of the Iberian Peninsula, with Spain to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean, where the Azores and Madeira archipelagos are located, to the south and west.

Portuguese is the official language of the country, including the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores. Others has gained the same status: Portuguese Sign Language (1997) and Mirandês (1999), from the northeast area of Portugal, Miranda do Douro (Law No 7/99, 29 January).

Portugal is a secular state. The Portuguese Republic Constitution states that "the freedom of conscience, of religion and of form of worship is inviolable" (Art. 41, no. 1) and that "churches and other religious communities are separate from the state and are free to organise themselves and to exercise their functions and form of worship" (Art. 41, no. 4). That said, the predominant religion among the Portuguese people is Roman Catholicism.

The population density of Portugal is about 111.6 inhabitants/km2. However, along the western coastline, mainly between Viana do Castelo and Setúbal, and the southern coastline (Algarve), the concentration is higher than the national average. In the urban areas of Lisbon and Porto the numbers are much higher, with figures exceeding 1,000 inhabitants/km2. In the north and centre regions of the country and in Alentejo, in the interior, most areas do not exceed 50 inhabitants/km2, and are unattractive areas for the resident population.

On December 31st, 2019, the resident population in Portugal was estimated to be of 10,295,909 people, 19,292 more than in 2018, which is a positive actual growth rate of 0.19%. (INE)

Resident population: total, by year and by major age groups (Individual - Proportion - %)   

Years       Major age groups

                Total        0-14        15-64      65 or more

2000      100.0         16.4         67.4         16.2

2005      100.0         15.9         66.8         17.3

2010      100.0         15.2         66.3         18.5

2015      100.0         14.2         65.3         20.5

2019      100.0         13.6         64.4         22.0


The population increase in 2019 was due to an increase in the net migration rate (from 11,570 in 2018 to 44,506 in 2019), as the rate of natural increase remained negative (-25,214 in 2019). As such, in 2019, there was a positive migration growth rate of 0.43 % and a negative natural growth rate of 0.25 %, in the latter case for the eleventh consecutive year.

Annual population rare: total, natural and migratory (individual - thousands)



Rate of natural increase       

Net migration rate 





















Sources/Bodies: INE, PORDATA. Last updated: 2020-06-15

The 2008 crisis had significant and prolonged impacts on employment in Portugal. It was only from 2016 that Portugal began to recover and achieve high employment rates (with low wages), which has been historically typical of the national employment system. Young people, who are the most likely to have precarious work contracts, are normally more affected by crises. This was true of this crisis, with close to 50 % of young people unemployed in some years.

Unemployment rates from 2000 to 2019 by age group (mainland)



Under 25




























Source: INE/ Pordata