Portugal’s shrinking population: roughly 50% live in just 31 municipalities

The first results of Portugal’s recent census show that the country’s population continues to ‘shrink’ with only Lisbon and the Algarve going in the opposite direction.

Since the 2011 census, the country has ‘lost’ 214,286 citizens, with the current population (10,347,892) lower than it was even in 2001.

But there are some areas where the population has grown. These are coastal (the Algarve particularly) and in and around the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto.

Roughly 50% of the country’s population lives in just 31 municipalities.

There are more women than men (4,917,794 men to 5,430,098 women) – and as has been the case for a long time, the interior parts of the country are ‘losing population’, in spite of any policies brought in to try and reverse this tendency.

While the Algarve (+3.7%) and Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (+1.7%) are the only regions where populations have grown, some have seen ‘more expressive’ reductions, namely the Alentejo (less 6.9%) and Madeira (less 6.2%).

The Algarve’s population increases per municipality have been: Vila do Bispo (+8,8%), Albufeira (+8,2%), Lagos (+7,9), Portimão (+7,7), São Brás de Alportel (+5,7), Tavira (+5,2), Faro (+3,9), Lagoa (+3,2) Loulé (+3.1), Aljezur (+2,8) and Silves (+1,9). Even so the boroughs of Alcoutim (-13.2%), Monchique (-9.6%), Castro Marim (-4.6%), Olhão and Vila Real de Santo António (both on -1.7%) have all lost residents.

In all, 467,495 people live in the Algarve now – that’s 16,489 more than the total recorded in the 2011 census.

Lisbon’s population (metropolitan area) is currently on 2,871,133 – which is 49,257 more people than lived in the region in 2011. Only four of the 18 metropolitan boroughs have lost population (Amadora, Lisboa, Oeiras and Barreiro). The highest increases came in the boroughs of Mafra (+12.8%), Palmela (+9.6%), Alcochete (+9%) and Montijo (+8.8%).

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