Portugal Population, People, Languages and Religions

By | January 21, 2022

Portugal Country Overview

Where is Portugal located? The European country of Portugal is bordered by Spain to the north and the Iberian Peninsula to the west. On the time zone map, Portugal is located in a world time zone called “West European Time”. In this time zone, there is no time shift to the coordinated world time in the winter months. However, in the summer, the clock is put forward one hour for Daylight Saving Time. Then the difference to the world clock is one hour (UTC+1).

Portugal National Flag

Population Distribution

As of 2023, the latest population of Portugal is 10,302,674, based on our calculation of the current data from UN (United Nations).

Total population 10,302,674
Population growth rate -0.25%
Birth rate 9.00 births per 1,000 people
Life expectancy
Overall life expectancy 78.85 years
Men life expectancy 75.61 years
Women life expectancy 82.32 years
Age structure
0-14 years 14.01%
15-64 years 65.73%
65 years and above 20.26%
Median age 41.50 years
Gender ratio (Male to Female) 0.95
Population density 111.88 residents per km²
Urbanization 54.60%
homogeneous population; fewer than 100,000 Africans who immigrated to the mother country after decolonization. Eastern Europeans have also immigrated to Portugal since 1990; Proportion of foreigners 2015: 3.8%
Catholics (Roman Catholic) 94%, Protestants (1995)
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.850
HDI ranking 40th out of 194

People in Portugal

10.3 million people live in Portugal, the Portuguese. While several or even many ethnic groups live in many countries, Portugal is a very uniform country linguistically and ethnically. Almost all of the residents of Portugal are Portuguese. There are also some people of African descent whose ancestors came to Portugal during the colonization period, as well as some Roma.

Most people live on the coast of the northern half of Lisbon, where a third of all residents live in the surrounding area. Ten percent of Portugal’s population live in the cities of Lisbon and Porto. The hinterland is less populated.

Because Portugal was a poor country for a long time, it was traditionally a country of emigration. Many Portuguese moved to Brazil or one of the Portuguese colonies in Africa. There they could continue to speak their language. Today in Europe a particularly large number of Portuguese live in France, but also in Great Britain, Switzerland and Spain. The proportion of Portuguese is also high in Luxembourg.

  • Children: Every woman in Portugal has an average of 1.3 children. With us, every woman has an average of 1.4 children. So fewer children are born in Portugal than here. The Portuguese are getting fewer and they are getting older. The average age is 43.7 years.
  • Urban and rural areas: A larger part of Portugal’s population, namely 65 percent, lives in the city (here: 75 percent). Lisbon, Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia are the biggest cities. The trend towards moving to the city continues. This is also called urbanization or urbanization.

Languages in Portugal

Portuguese is spoken in Portugal. Only in a few villages in northeast Portugal – in Miranda do Douro on the border with Spain – do people speak a dialect called Mirandes. One assigns it to the Asturleonese. It is a language that is spoken in the neighboring region of Spain. The road signs in Miranda do Douro are bilingual in Mirandes and Portuguese.

Portuguese is one of the Romance languages. It has some similarities to Spanish, Italian or French. By the way, Portuguese is spoken not only in Portugal, but also in Brazil and some African countries such as Angola and Mozambique. They were once colonies of Portugal. 240 million people around the world speak Portuguese as their first language.

Portuguese is written in Latin letters – these are the ones we also use. The letters k, w and y are rarely used and did not even belong to the Portuguese alphabet until 2009. However, the following are also used: Á, Â, Ã, А, Ç, É, Ê, Í, Ó, Ô, Õ, Ú, Ü.

By the way, Portuguese sounds very soft and has a musical sound. There are some nasal sounds, namely five vowels and five diphthongs, which are combinations of two vowels. The pronunciation of some consonants is also very different than in German. For example, an “l” is sometimes pronounced like a “u” or an “s” is sometimes pronounced like a “sch”. Incidentally, the “ç” is pronounced like an unvoiced “s”, for example in almoço (lunch).

Religions in Portugal

81 percent of Portuguese belong to the Roman Catholic Church. 3.3 percent belong to other Christian churches. Religious minorities are Jews, Muslims or Jehovah’s Witnesses.