By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]
A future of increased foreign migration and an ageing population is on the cards for the Algarve region, according to predictions published by Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics organisation.
According to the report, which covers demographic predictions until 2030 for all 27 EU countries and their regions as well as Norway and Switzerland, the Algarve will see an increase in population from 443,000 people this year to 564,000 people by 2030.
International migration is expected to far outweigh internal migration into the region, with 119,000 people predicted to move to the Algarve from abroad and only 33,000 from within other parts of Portugal.
Currently, Brazilian migrants represent the largest group of foreign residents in the region (around 12,000), followed by the British (10,443) and Ukrainian communities (around 10,000).
A spokesman from the British consulate in Portimão told the Algarve Resident: “According to figures released by the border and immigration control authority (SEF) in 2008, there were 10,443 British residents in the region,” adding that the unofficial estimate, however, is around 50,000 permanent and semi-permanent residents.
The Algarve’s population could become the third largest increase in Europe, with crude total migration predicted to be 13.4 per cent, after Northern Ireland and the region of Murcia in Spain.
The population profile is also projected to become older in almost all regions across Europe. The combined effect of three factors – the existing population structure, decreasing birth rates and the rising number of people living longer – is likely to increase the median age in all but seven regions out of the 281.
In the Algarve, people aged over 65 represent 18.8 per cent of the population this year and are predicted to increase to 23.2 per cent by 2030.
According to the report, in the 27 European countries, the median age of the population was 40.4 in 2008 and is projected to increase to 45.4 in 2030.
Using statistics from 2008, Eurostat has predicted that up to 2030, the number of births expected in the Algarve will be around 107,000, which represents a crude birth rate of 9.4 per cent. The number of deaths, however, is expected to surpass births by 11,000 within the same time period at 118,000, which represents a crude death rate of 10.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, other regions of continental Portugal are also predicted to have an increase in population, while the islands of the Azores and Madeira will see a decrease in population due to emigration.
To read the full report on Europe’s regional population projections, please visit the website, available in English, at www.ec.europa.eu/eurostat
Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]