Portugal loses almost 200,000 people in five years

“It is too much, in a short space of time, for such a small country”. This is how Portugal’s demographic association has reacted to the news that in just five years the country has lost almost 200,000 people.

Taking last year alone, the figures translates into an annual loss of “more than 50,000 inhabitants”.

Bearing in mind the country only numbers 10 million, the news is “worrying”, says the association whose president Maria Filomena Mendes stressed that demographic decline has been acute in the last few years, due to more people leaving the country than arriving, or being born.

As has already been made much of in the national press, indicators point to “progressive reductions” in the population as people still vote with their feet, and leave their home country in search of a better life.

In the last four years particularly, emigrés have ‘leapt’ in number.

“While we cannot recover from the financial and economic crisis, we will continue to be penalised by emigration”, said Mendes, stressing Portugal is losing its young population – not simply an ‘active’ part of society, but ‘fertile’ too.

Worst case scenarios traced by statistics institute INE point to a “drastic reduction” in population by 2060, with old people outnumbering the young by almost five to one.