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17 December 2021

Portugal: 2021 census confirms growth in immigrant population

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According to the provisional results of the 2021 population census, the number of foreign residents in Portugal increased by 40% between 2011 and 2021, amounting to 555 299 people. Data from the Foreigners and Borders Office (SEF) have already documented the growth of the foreign population residing in Portugal, and now these census findings confirm the trend.

Foreign citizens account for 5.4% of the total population living in Portugal. In 2011, this figure was 3.7%. Third country nationals (TCNs) account for 81.4% of the total number of foreign citizens.

The Algarve and Lisbon Metropolitan Area regions have the highest proportion of foreign citizens: migrants represent 14.7% and 8.9% of their populations respectively. In 2011, this percentage was 11.6% in Algarve and 7.2% in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. At the municipal level, the concentration of migrants is higher: they represent 28.6% of the population in Odemira, 26.3% in Alzejur, 26.1% in Vila do Bispo, 23.4% in Lagos and 20.4 % in Albufeira. In the city of Lisbon this percentage is slightly greater than 10%.

Between the two censuses of 2011 and 2021 the native population of Portugal decreased by 2.1%. If it had not been for the country's foreign population, this decrease would have been even more severe.


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Posted by
Alina Esteves
Country Coordinator

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