Demographics of Portugal

The Demographics of the Country of Portugal


Although as of 2011 it has a population of 10,760,305 people, Portugal is actually a very homogenous country. For almost all of its history Portugal has remained a country with one language and only one religion. This has contributed to a strong ethnic community and national unity.


Since the 1990s other ethnicities have begun to filter into Portugal to follow the jobs that popped up there during the construction boom. Ukrainian, Brazilian, and African peoples have settled in the country. Romanians, Moldovans and Chinese have also chosen Portugal as their home. Former citizens of many European countries have begun to filter into Portugal more recently as well. These cultures have added some diversity to Portugal.




Portugal is a secular state. This means that it supports a freedom of religion. Portugal does not rely on religious documents or practices to dictate law. 84.5% of Portugal is Roman Catholic, while only 2.2% is Christian. Portugal is known to also have small communities of Protestants, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christian Orthodox, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baha’l, Buddhists and Hebrews. These religions make up the other 13.3%.


Language and Literacy


The main language in Portugal is Portuguese. Portuguese is one of the “Romance languages” that originated in Spain. Because of Portugal’s previous colonial and commercial empire, Portuguese is now spoken in many different parts of the world.


Portugal has a 99% literacy rate. Portugal’s students score similarly to students in the United States. Other countries that score this way are the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, and France.


Age & Gender


The people of Portugal live an average of 78.54 years with females living to 82.01 years and males only living until 75.28 years. The average age in Portugal is 40 years. The total percentage of population over the age of 65 is 18%. The total percentage of the population between the ages of 15 and 64 is 65.8%. The population of those 14 years and under is 16.2%




The two largest cities in Portugal are Lisbon, and Porto. The 2001 census reported that Lisbon had a population of 2,641,006 people, while Porto had a population of 1,679,854.


Wages & Unemployment


Portugal has one of the lowest incomes per person in the European Union. The average wage per month in Portugal is $1,487, or 1,039 €. In 2010 Portugal’s unemployment rate was 11%.


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