According to definitive data from the 2021 censuses released by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the population of foreign nationality has increased in the last decade in Portugal, with 542,314 people of other nationalities living in the country at the time of the 2021 census, representing 5.2% of the total population, more than the 3.7% recorded in 2011.

The largest foreign community residing in Portugal was the Brazilian, with 199,810 people (about 36.8%), followed by the Angolan, with 31,556 people (5.8%), and the Cape Verdean, with 27,144 (5%).

The INE also highlights the "strong growth that has taken place" in some foreign communities, such as Nepalese nationals, who went from 959 people in 2011 to 13,224 in 2021, and Bangladesh, from 853 in 2011 to 9,150 in 2021.

The 2021 census also found that 1,608,094 Portuguese who lived abroad returned to Portugal, with the most representative countries of origin being France (23.2%), Angola (14%), Switzerland (8.1%), Brazil (7.2%), Mozambique (6.5%) and Germany (6.3%).

Elderly population

In 2021, the percentage of the elderly population (65 and over) represented 23.4%, while that of young people up to 14 years old was only 12.9%.

The aging index - elderly people per 100 young people - rose from 128 in 2011 to 182 in 2021.

"The low birth rate and the increase in longevity that has occurred in recent decades are reflected in the age pyramid corresponding to the 2021 censuses, which, from 2011 to 2021, shows a narrowing of the base age groups and an expansion in the most advanced ages".

According to the final data, between 2011 and 2021 “the sustainability and rejuvenation of the active population also worsened”.

The rejuvenation index of the active population in 2021 was 76, which means that, for every 100 people leaving the labour market, only 76 enter, INE stressed.

This value was 94 in 2011, already below the one that allows to ensure the replacement of the working-age population, since it is considered that there is rejuvenation when the value of this index is above 100, explained the institute.