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Indicators of Migrant Integration – 2019 Annual Statistical Report (Unofficial translation)

Indicadores de Integração de Imigrantes – Relatório Estatístico Anual 2019 (Original language title)

This annual report the Observatory of Migration, part of Portugal’s High Commission for Migration, contains 15 chapters that seek to capture the position of foreign citizens vis-à-vis the Portuguese on issues such as education, labour market, social inclusion, ethno-racial discrimination and demography.


The report begins by stating that the structure of the ten largest foreign communities in Portugal has changed over time. Namely, the number of nationals from other EU countries and from Asia has increased, while the number of nationals from Portuguese-speaking African countries has decreased as a share of the foreign population. Women have been making up an increasing share of the total number of resident foreigners, and they now make up half of the foreign population.

Foreign citizens continue to make a significant contribution to births in Portugal. In 2018, women of foreign nationality accounted for 11% of total live births, although the foreign population only makes up 4.7% of the total resident population.


Since 2007, there has been a significant increase in Portuguese citizenship applications. Between 2007 and 2018, more than half a million citizens (517,775) acquired Portuguese nationality—ten times more than between 1996 and 2006.


Between the beginning of the decade and the 2017-2018 school year, the performance of foreign students in primary and secondary education improved. Foreign students improved their transition / completion rate by about 5 percentage points compared to the 2011-2012 school year.

Labour market

Compared to Portuguese workers, a higher percentage of foreign workers do not use their qualifications in the jobs they perform. In 2017, 10% of foreigners with higher qualifications held occupations in civil construction, blue collar jobs and unskilled jobs (7 percentage points higher than Portuguese workers). However, foreigners continue to be more likely to be employers than Portuguese nationals. The number of foreigners who were employers grew 3.3% between 2017 and 2018, compared to a growth of 1.2% among Portuguese.

Social inclusion

Both foreigners and Portuguese nationals have become less at risk of poverty and social exclusion. In 2018, the risk of poverty and social exclusion of foreigners was 27.2%, compared to 21.4% for Portuguese nationals. These figures show a substantial decrease compared to 2017, when the risk was 36.6% among the foreign population and 22.9% among the Portuguese.

Foreigners continue to make more social security contributions than they receive in benefits. Their net contribution stood at € 514.3 million in 2017 and € 651.3 million in 2018, the highest amount ever reached in Portugal.

Quality of accommodations remains a concern. In 2018, 25.7% of non-nationals lived in overcrowded dwellings, compared to 8% of the Portuguese population. Thus, Portugal had the sixth widest gap between national and foreign citizens in the EU.

Read the report

Attached file(s)
Catarina Reis Oliveira, Natália Gomes
Posted by:
Country Coordinator Portugal