The overall demographics for Portugal are not good. The country has a total population of just over 10.3m, according to Statistics Portugal. However, around 500,000 live on the Portuguese islands of Madeira and Azores, with 9.8m living in mainland Portugal.
The country’s population has declined by around 250,000 since 2010. With a median age of almost 42 years, the natural birth rate in Portugal is lower than the death rate resulting in a declining population of 20-25,000 per year. But since the ‘great recession’ started, many young Portuguese workers have also moved to northern Europe, Brazil, or Portuguese speaking countries in Africa like Angola and Mozambique. This is enhancing the national population decline, which reached 45,000 in 2016 with a further drop of 45,000 expected this year. To put this into perspective, daily deaths out number daily births by around 50 people per day and net migration is around 75 people per day.
To make matters worse, as young workers (tax payers) leave the country, the percentage of people that are dependent on the Portuguese government (either children aged under-15 or pensioners aged 65 and older) is 52%, which means every tax payer will need to earn enough, and pay enough in tax, to cover another person’s pension or education, and still have enough tax left over to pay for all of the usual government expenditures.
The two largest metropolitan areas, Lisbon (2.8m) and Porto (1.3m), hold around 40% of the country’s population. In this article we will focus on the Lisbon property market. Unlike other capital cities in the north or Europe, like London and Stockholm, where populations have been growing rapidly, Lisbon has seen a population decline. In the early-1980s there were 800,000 people living in the city centre and today the number is around 500,000.