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Portugal Index

Portugal has long been a nation whose people emigrated. Socially significant emigration first occurred in the fifteenth century and sixteenth century during the great explorations. Although the Portuguese established trading posts at many places in Africa and Asia, Brazil was the main colony of settlement. Later, numbers of Portuguese settled in the African colonies of Angola and Mozambique.

Emigration on a massive scale began in the second half of the nineteenth century and continued into the 1980s. Between 1886 and 1966, Portugal lost an estimated 2.6 million people to emigration, more than any West European country except Ireland. Emigration remained high until 1973 and the first oil shock that slowed the economies of West European nations and reduced employment opportunities for Portuguese workers. Since then, emigration has been moderate, ranging between 12,000 and 17,000 a year in the 1980s, a fraction of the emigration that occurred during the 1960s and early 1970s.

The main motive for emigration, at least in modern times, was economic. Portugal was long among the poorest countries in Europe. With the countryside able to support only a portion of farmers' offspring and few opportunities in the manufacturing sector, many Portuguese had to go abroad to find work. In northern Portugal, for example, many young men emigrated because the land was divided into "handkerchief-sized" plots. In some periods, Portuguese emigrated to avoid military service. Thus, emigration increased during World War I and during the 1960s and early 1970s, when Portugal waged a series of wars in an attempt to retain its African colonies.

For centuries it was mainly men who emigrated. Around the turn of the century, about 80 percent of emigrants were male. Even in the 1980s, male emigrants outnumbered female emigrants two to one. Portuguese males traditionally emigrated for several years while women and children remained behind. For several decades after World War II, however, women made up about 40 percent of emigrants.

The social effects resulting from this extensive and generally male emigration included an aging population, a disproportionate number of women, and a slower rate of population growth. Childbearing was postponed, and many women were obliged to remain single or to spend many years separated from their husbands. In some areas where emigration was particularly intense, especially in the north, villages resembled ghost towns and visitors noted that it seemed that only women were working in the fields.

Although emigration brought with it untold human suffering, it had positive effects, as well. The women who stayed behind became more independent as they managed the family farm and fended for themselves. Emigrants abroad absorbed the more open and pluralistic mores of more advanced countries; they also learned about independent labor unions and extensive social welfare programs. The money that emigrants sent back to Portugal from their job earnings abroad became crucial for the functioning of the Portuguese economy. Quite a number of the Portuguese who had done well abroad eventually returned and built houses that were considerably better than the ones they had left behind years earlier.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century and during much of the twentieth century, the greatest number of emigrants went to the Western Hemisphere. The Americas were seen as a New World offering hope, jobs, land, and a chance to start fresh. Between 1864 and 1974, the Americas received approximately 50 percent of all Portuguese emigration.

Brazil was the destination of choice. In addition to the climate, ties of history, culture, and language attracted the Portuguese to Brazil and enabled them to assimilate easily. Despite occasional tensions between them and the Brazilians, the Portuguese saw Brazil as a land of the future with abundant land and jobs. Hence, about 30 percent of Portugal's emigrants settled there between 1864 and 1973. A final surge of Portuguese emigrants was caused by the Revolution of 1974, when an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Portuguese associated with the former regime fled or were exiled to Brazil. According to government estimates, more than 1 million Portuguese were living in Brazil in the 1980s.

Among the other Latin American countries, Venezuela has ranked second to Brazil in terms of Portuguese emigration, and Argentina third. Other Latin American countries have received only a few Portuguese immigrants, for the Portuguese, like other peoples, preferred to go to countries where their fellow countrypeople could help them get settled.

Emigration to North America was also intense. By the late 1980s, it was estimated that the number of Portuguese and persons of Portuguese descent living in this continent amounted to more than 1 million in the United States and 400,000 in Canada, most notably in Toronto and Montreal. Significant Portuguese migration to the United States began in the nineteenth century. Early in the twentieth century, substantial Portuguese communities were established in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Since the 1950s, the most intense migration has been to the northeast, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and to cities in southeastern Massachusetts.

Portuguese emigration to the United States often involved whole families, rather than just the men. For this reason, emigrants to the United States settled permanently, unlike Portuguese emigrants to Northern Europe, who were mostly men who set out alone with the intention of returning home after a few years. Another characteristic of the Portuguese migration to the United States was that many were fishermen from the Azores who came to work in areas offshore of New England. Others migrated from Madeira and São Tomé.

Portugal was never as successful at stimulating emigration to its African territories as it wanted to be. For centuries the number of Europeans in these territories was small. Faced with competition from other European imperialist powers in the nineteenth century, Portugal sought to fill up its vast African spaces with people. The state allowed prisoners to work off their sentences by settling in Africa, it offered land grants and stipends to prospective settlers, it tried to encourage its soldiers assigned there to stay, and it tried to lure other Europeans to settle there to augment the thin Portuguese population. These efforts were not notably successful, however, and Portuguese emigration to Africa never amounted to more than 4 percent of the total.

With mounting opposition to its efforts to retain its African territories in the 1960s, Portugal's settlement efforts again reflected political, as well as economic, motives. The government tried to persuade the unemployed, especially those in the north, to settle in Africa rather than emigrate illegally to Europe, but in the long run it was unsuccessful in these efforts. Even the construction of major dams and other infrastructure projects in the territories failed to lure significant numbers of settlers. By the mid-1970s, the African colonies were lost, and Portugal was flooded with refugees from these areas instead of providing emigrants to them.

Upwards of 1 million Portuguese or persons of Portuguese descent were living in the country's African colonies in 1974 when these colonies gained independence. Most of these settlers left these former colonies rather than live under the rule of the Marxist-Leninist groups that came to power. Sizeable numbers went to South Africa and to Brazil, but an estimated 800,000 returned to Portugal, where they increased the already high unemployment rate and added to the social and political tensions of the late 1970s. Eventually, however, most of these returnees were assimilated into Portuguese society, and some of them achieved notable political or financial success.

During the first half of the twentieth century, most Portuguese emigrating from their country went to its colonies or to the Western Hemisphere. This changed dramatically in the 1950s when Western Europe began to experience an economic boom that lasted at least up to the first oil crisis of 1973. The boom created millions of jobs, and Portuguese migrants traveled north to fill them. Alongside Italians, Spaniards, Turks, North Africans, and others, Portuguese worked in restaurants, in construction, in factories, and in many other areas. Although much of the work was menial and poorly paid, such employment provided significant economic advancement for many Portuguese. By the late 1960s, an estimated 80 percent of Portuguese emigrants went to Europe. Many of these emigrants did so illegally, without the required documents, because the lure of Europe's prosperity was too strong to be resisted.

France was the most popular destination. By the early 1970s, it was estimated that 8 percent of Portugal's population lived there. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) had the next largest contingent. There were also sizeable Portuguese communities in Switzerland, Belgium, Britain, and the Netherlands. Chaotic economic and social conditions resulting from the Revolution of 1974 caused a slight surge of emigration in the later 1970s, but it never again reached the levels of the 1960s and early 1970s.

During the 1980s, the rate of emigration slowed as revolutionary turmoil subsided and the economy began to grow. Greater governmental efficiency and membership in the EC attracted much foreign investment and created jobs. Portuguese no longer had to go abroad to find economic opportunity.

Data as of January 1993

BackgroundFollowing its heyday as a global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal lost much of its wealth and status with the destruction of Lisbon in a 1755 earthquake, occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the independence of its wealthiest colony of Brazil in 1822. A 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy; for most of the next six decades, repressive governments ran the country. In 1974, a left-wing military coup installed broad democratic reforms. The following year, Portugal granted independence to all of its African colonies. Portugal is a founding member of NATO and entered the EC (now the EU) in 1986.
LocationSouthwestern Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Spain
Area(sq km)total: 92,090 sq km
land: 91,470 sq km
water: 620 sq km
note: includes Azores and Madeira Islands
Geographic coordinates39 30 N, 8 00 W
Land boundaries(km)total: 1,214 km
border countries: Spain 1,214 km

Coastline(km)1,793 km

Climatemaritime temperate; cool and rainy in north, warmer and drier in south

Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Ponta do Pico (Pico or Pico Alto) on Ilha do Pico in the Azores 2,351 m
Natural resourcesfish, forests (cork), iron ore, copper, zinc, tin, tungsten, silver, gold, uranium, marble, clay, gypsum, salt, arable land, hydropower
Land use(%)arable land: 17.29%
permanent crops: 7.84%
other: 74.87% (2005)

Irrigated land(sq km)6,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources(cu km)73.6 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)total: 11.09 cu km/yr (10%/12%/78%)
per capita: 1,056 cu m/yr (1998)
Natural hazardsAzores subject to severe earthquakes
Environment - current issuessoil erosion; air pollution caused by industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution, especially in coastal areas
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Environmental Modification
Geography - noteAzores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
Population10,707,924 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure(%)0-14 years: 16.3% (male 912,147/female 834,941)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 3,525,717/female 3,554,513)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 772,413/female 1,108,193) (2009 est.)
Median age(years)total: 39.4 years
male: 37.3 years
female: 41.6 years (2009 est.)
Population growth rate(%)0.275% (2009 est.)
Birth rate(births/1,000 population)10.29 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)10.68 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)3.14 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization(%)urban population: 59% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.4% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 4.78 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.24 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.29 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 78.21 years
male: 74.95 years
female: 81.69 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate(children born/woman)1.49 children born/woman (2009 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Portuguese (singular and plural)
adjective: Portuguese
Ethnic groups(%)homogeneous Mediterranean stock; citizens of black African descent who immigrated to mainland during decolonization number less than 100,000; since 1990 East Europeans have entered Portugal

Religions(%)Roman Catholic 84.5%, other Christian 2.2%, other 0.3%, unknown 9%, none 3.9% (2001 census)
Languages(%)Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official - but locally used)

Country nameconventional long form: Portuguese Republic
conventional short form: Portugal
local long form: Republica Portuguesa
local short form: Portugal
Government typerepublic; parliamentary democracy
Capitalname: Lisbon
geographic coordinates: 38 43 N, 9 08 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions18 districts (distritos, singular - distrito) and 2 autonomous regions* (regioes autonomas, singular - regiao autonoma); Aveiro, Acores (Azores)*, Beja, Braga, Braganca, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Evora, Faro, Guarda, Leiria, Lisboa (Lisbon), Madeira*, Portalegre, Porto, Santarem, Setubal, Viana do Castelo, Vila Real, Viseu
Constitutionadopted 2 April 1976; subsequently revised
note: the revisions placed the military under strict civilian control, trimmed the powers of the president, and laid the groundwork for a stable, pluralistic liberal democracy; and they allowed for the privatization of nationalized firms and the government-owned communications media

Legal systembased on civil law system; the Constitutional Tribunal reviews the constitutionality of legislation; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Anibal CAVACO SILVA (since 9 March 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Jose SOCRATES Carvalho Pinto de Sousa (since 12 March 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
note: there is also a Council of State that acts as a consultative body to the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 22 January 2006 (next to be held in January 2011); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the president
election results: Anibal CAVACO SILVA elected president; percent of vote - Anibal CAVACO SILVA 50.6%, Manuel ALEGRE 20.7%, Mario Alberto Nobre Lopes SOARES 14.3%, Jeronimo DE SOUSA 8.5%, Franciso LOUCA 5.3%
Legislative branchunicameral Assembly of the Republic or Assembleia da Republica (230 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 September 2009 (next to be held in fall 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - PS 42%, PSD 35%, CDS/PP 9%, BE 7%, CDU 7%; seats by party - PS 97, PSD 81, CDS/PP 21, BE 16, CDU 15

Judicial branchSupreme Court (Supremo Tribunal de Justica); judges appointed for life by the Conselho Superior da Magistratura

Political pressure groups and leadersthe media; labor unions
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, CPLP, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club (associate), PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMIT, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag descriptiontwo vertical bands of green (hoist side, two-fifths) and red (three-fifths) with the Portuguese coat of arms centered on the dividing line

Economy - overviewPortugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past two decades, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors. The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth had been above the EU average for much of the 1990s, but fell back in 2001-08. GDP per capita stands at roughly two-thirds of the EU-27 average. A poor educational system, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The budget deficit surged to an all-time high of 6% of GDP in 2005, but the government reduced the deficit to 2.6% in 2007 - a year ahead of Portugal's targeted schedule. Nonetheless, the government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost the economy, which declined 0.1% in 2008, while keeping the budget deficit within the euro-zone 3%-of-GDP ceiling.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$237.3 billion (2008 est.)
$237.3 billion (2007 est.)
$232.9 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$244.6 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate(%)0% (2008 est.)
1.9% (2007 est.)
1.4% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$22,200 (2008 est.)
$22,300 (2007 est.)
$22,000 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 2.8%
industry: 25%
services: 72.2% (2008 est.)
Labor force5.625 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation(%)agriculture: 10%
industry: 30%
services: 60% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate(%)7.6% (2008 est.)
8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line(%)18% (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: 3.1%
highest 10%: 28.4% (1995 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index38.5 (2007)
35.6 (1995)
Investment (gross fixed)(% of GDP)21.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $105.5 billion
expenditures: $111.9 billion (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)2.6% (2008 est.)
2.4% (2007 est.)

Stock of money$NAnote: see entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 16 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money and quasi money circulating within their own borders
Stock of quasi money$NA
Stock of domestic credit$491 billion (31 December 2008)
$412.7 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA (31 December 2008)
$132.3 billion (31 December 2007)
$104.2 billion (31 December 2006)
Public debt(% of GDP)66.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
61.5% of GDP (2004 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrain, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, grapes; sheep, cattle, goats, swine, poultry, dairy products; fish
Industriestextiles, clothing, footwear, wood and cork, paper, chemicals, auto-parts manufacturing, base metals, diary products, wine and other foods, porcelain and ceramics, glassware, technology, telecommunications; ship construction and refurbishment; tourism

Industrial production growth rate(%)-2.2% (2008 est.)

Current account balance-$29.6 billion (2008 est.)
-$21.18 billion (2007 est.)
Exports$56.42 billion (2008 est.)
$51.81 billion (2007 est.)

Exports - commodities(%)agricultural products, food products, oil products, chemical products, plastics and rubber, skins and leather, wood and cork, wood pulp and paper, textile materials, clothing, footwear, minerals and mineral products, base metals, machinery and tools, vehicles and other transport material, and optical and precision instruments
Exports - partners(%)Spain 25.7%, Germany 12.7%, France 11.1%, Angola 5.9%, UK 5.3% (2008)
Imports$87.83 billion (2008 est.)
$75.98 billion (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities(%)agricultural products, food products, oil products, chemical products, plastics and rubber, skins and leather, wood and cork, wood pulp and paper, textile materials, clothing, footwear, minerals and mineral products, base metals, machinery and tools, vehicles and other transport material, and optical and precision instruments, computer accessories and parts, semi-conductors and related devices, household goods, passenger cars new and used, and wine products
Imports - partners(%)Spain 28.9%, Germany 11.6%, France 8%, Italy 4.9%, Netherlands 4.4% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$11.95 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$11.55 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external$484.7 billion (31 December 2008)
$483.9 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$117.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$114.2 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$69.24 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
$69.24 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.6827 (2008 est.), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004)

Currency (code)euro (EUR)

Telephones - main lines in use4.121 million (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular14.91 million (2008)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: Portugal's telephone system has a state-of-the-art network with broadband, high-speed capabilities
domestic: integrated network of coaxial cables, open-wire, microwave radio relay, and domestic satellite earth stations
international: country code - 351; a combination of submarine cables provide connectivity to Europe, North and East Africa, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the US; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to Azores (2008)
Internet country code.pt
Internet users4.476 million (2008)
Airports65 (2009)
Pipelines(km)gas 1,098 km; oil 11 km; refined products 188 km (2008)
Roadways(km)total: 82,900 km
paved: 71,294 km (includes 2,300 km of expressways)
unpaved: 11,606 km (2005)

Ports and terminalsLeixoes, Lisbon, Setubal, Sines
Military branchesPortuguese Army (Exercito Portugues), Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa; includes Marine Corps), Portuguese Air Force (Forca Aerea Portuguesa, FAP) (2009)
Military service age and obligation(years of age)18 years of age for voluntary military service; compulsory military service ended in 2004; women serve in the armed forces, on naval ships since 1993, but are prohibited from serving in some combatant specialties; reserve obligation to age 35 (2007)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,573,913
females age 16-49: 2,498,262 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 2,103,558
females age 16-49: 2,049,032 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 64,047
female: 57,630 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures(% of GDP)2.3% of GDP (2005 est.)
Disputes - internationalPortugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz

Electricity - production(kWh)44.47 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 64.5%
hydro: 31.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 4.1% (2001)
Electricity - consumption(kWh)48.78 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports(kWh)1.313 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports(kWh)10.74 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production(bbl/day)7,861 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption(bbl/day)291,700 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports(bbl/day)53,260 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - imports(bbl/day)351,100 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Economic aid - donorODA, $396 million (2006)

Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl
Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption(cu m)4.754 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)0.5% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS34,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsfewer than 500 (2007 est.)
Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.3%
male: 95.5%
female: 91.3% (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures(% of GDP)5.5% of GDP (2005)

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