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According to the final results of the 2021 census, Portugal’s population has declined for the second time since it was recorded.

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Another finding from the 2021 census is an increase in inland abandonment and population concentration on the coast.


Another finding from the 2021 census is an increase in inland abandonment and population concentration on the coast.


The second time after the country’s general census. Portugal’s population has declinedaccording to the final 2021 census figures released this Wednesday by the National Institute of Statistics.

April 19, 2021 Portugal had a population of 10,343,066.🇧🇷 This global population is divided between 5,422,846 females and 4,920,220 males.

The number represents population decline by 2.1% compared to 2011, when the last general census of Portugal was carried out.

In addition, according to a report published this Wednesday by INE, “this value reflects the change in population growth trend observed in recent decades and represents The second population decline was recorded since 1864.year in which the 1st General Census was not taken.

So far, the only time the Portuguese census recorded a decline was the 1970 census. emigration that took place in the 1960s. was the main factor contributing to the decline in the number of inhabitants of Portugal.

20% of the population lives in 1.1% of the territory

In addition, the INE report points to the strengthening of “the country’s coastal pattern and population concentration near the capital”.

🇧🇷About 20% of the country’s population is concentrated in the 7 most densely populated municipalities, covering an area of ​​​​only 1.1% of the territory.🇧🇷 At the other extreme, also representing about 20% of the population, we have the 208 least populated municipalities that cover 65.8% of the country’s territory,” the document says.

Over the past decade, there have been only two regions in the country where the population has increased: the Algarve (+3.6%) and the Lisbon metropolitan area (+1.7%).

On the other hand, all other regions of the country lost their populationwith a special focus on Alentejo (-7%) and Madeira (-6.4%).

Even an increase in the number of foreigners living in Portugal did not help prevent a decline in the total population living in the country.

“At the time of the 2021 census, there were 542,314 people of foreign nationality living in Portugal, representing 5.2% of the total population, higher than the 3.7% registered in 2011. 199,810 people (about 36.8%) followed by Angola with 31,556 people (5.8%). The Cape Verdean community was the third most represented in Portugal with 27,144 (5.0%), while UK citizens were 24,609 (4.5%),” the report said.

23.4% of the population are elderly, but only 12.9% are under the age of 14.

This movement of the population towards the coast and inland was accompanied by a significant aging of the population. “The low birth rate and increase in life expectancy seen in recent decades is reflected in the age pyramid,” the INE report says.

The statistics leave no room for doubt: “In the period from 2011 to 2021. in all age groups up to 39 years there was a decline in the populationespecially in the 30 to 39 age group. On the contrary, the relative importance of all age groups over 44 has increased.”

“In 2021, the proportion of the elderly (65 and over) was 23.4%, while the proportion of young people (0-14 years) was only 12.9%,” the INE document says.

The report provides some useful indicators for understanding the aging population in Portugal:

  • OUR the average age of the population is 45.4 years, an increase of 3.1 years compared to 2011;
  • Increased “aging index”: now 182 older people for every 100 young peoplewhile in 2011 there were 128;
  • The “active population rejuvenation index” has decreased: for every 100 people in the 55-64 age group, Now there are 76 people in the age group of 20-29 years old.when in 2011 there were 94. For rejuvenation, this value had to be more than 100.

The age pyramid also allows us to draw conclusions about the ratio of the male and female population. Although there are 91 men for every 100 women in Portugal, under the age of 30 the male population outnumbers the female population. From there, women are superior.

This difference reflectshigh mortality rate among the male population”, says INE.

More divorces and more de facto unions: data shows changes in families

The new data from the 2021 census also clearly shows that family patterns in Portugal are undergoing significant changes.

First, there has been a significant increase in the population living in de facto union rather than marriage. In 2021 there were over a million Portuguese in de facto unionwhich is 11.2% of the population, while in 2011 this reality was 8.1% of the population.

On the other hand, there was also increase in the percentage of divorced Portuguese: it is now 8%, two percentage points more than in 2011. An increase that could help explain declining family population (now they make up 41% of the Portuguese, which is 2.1 percentage points less than in 2011). The most common marital status among Portuguese residents is single: 43.5% of the population.

The Portuguese have higher education

The INE report also contributes to the understanding of the evolution of the school education of the Portuguese population. According to the 2021 census, “over the past decade, the schooling level of the population has increased significantly due to the replenishment of the population with higher education, as well as secondary and post-secondary education.”

“According to the 2021 census, the population with a tertiary education is 1,782,888, which is 19.8% of the population aged 15 and over (13.9% in 2011). The population with secondary and post-secondary education increased from 16.7% to 24.7%.

On the other hand, the illiteracy rate in the country is declining. In 2021, the number of Portuguese aged 10 years and over who could not read or write was 292,809, meaning an illiteracy rate of 3.1% − a decrease from 2011, when the illiteracy rate was 5.2%🇧🇷

More people live alone and more rented houses with higher rents

The 2021 census report also reflects the reality of Portugal in terms of housing and family.

One of the main findings concerns the shrinking size of households: in 2021. households in Portugal consisted of an average of 2.5 people.0.1 percentage point less than in 2011.

INE pays special attention to increasing the proportion of single Portuguese people: currently 24.8% of households in Portugal consist of just one person. More than a million Portuguese live alone.

At the same time, the number of single-parent families is also increasing: there are currently 579,971 of them, representing 18.5% of the number of families, which is 3.6 percentage points more than in 2011. In this set of single-parent families, 85.6% are mothers with children and only 14.4% are fathers with children.🇧🇷

The Portuguese are also increasingly living in rented houses. The number of homes for rent has increased by 16% over the past decade (although the national reality is still largely owned by homeowners), and rents have risen by an average of 42.1% compared to 2011.

The final results of the 2021 census are fully available on the dedicated platform of the INE website.

Source: Observador

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