As of December 2022, Portugal had 1,683,829 inhabitants that were born in a foreign country, out of 10,467,366 inhabitants, accounting for 16.1% of its total population.[1][2][3]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1849 3,411,454—    
1864 4,188,419+1.38%
1878 4,550,699+0.59%
1890 5,049,729+0.87%
1900 5,423,132+0.72%
1911 5,969,056+0.88%
1920 6,032,991+0.12%
1930 6,825,883+1.24%
1940 7,722,152+1.24%
1950 8,510,240+0.98%
1960 8,851,240+0.39%
1970 8,648,369−0.23%
1981 9,833,041+1.17%
1991 9,862,540+0.03%
2001 10,356,117+0.49%
2011 10,561,614+0.20%
2021 10,344,802−0.21%
2022 10,467,366+1.18%
Source: INE

Dealing with foreign nationals (inhabitants without Portuguese citizenship, regardless of their country of birth or ethnic background) in 2019 there were above 590,000 foreigners in Portugal. With the COVID-19 pandemic, that number went up to 661,000 at the end of 2020.[4] By January 2023 their number had soared to 781,915 people.[5] These figures do not include naturalized foreign-born residents (about 342,521 resident foreigners acquired Portuguese citizenship from 2008 to 2022, of whom 20,844 did so in 2022[6][7][8]) as well as illegal immigrants. The number of illegal immigrants, or so-called imigrantes irregulares, is difficult to determine, and is thought to be around 300,000.[9][10][11][12]

Of the 781,915 legal residents not holding Portuguese citizenship living in Portugal in January 2023, 409,523 identified as male (52.37%), and 372,392 as female (47.63%).[5]

The distribution of foreigners is largely uneven in Portugal: 65% of foreign citizens lived in Lisbon, Faro or Setúbal districts: these districts account for 35% of the country's population.[13]

Immigrants in Portugal largely come from Latin America, Eastern Europe, Lusophone nations in Africa, and South Asia. Major groups of immigrants to Portugal include Brazilians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Americans, Romanians, Russians, Chinese, Venezuelans, Angolans, Bissau-Guineans, Nepalis, Indians, Cape Verdeans, and São Toméans.Brazilians made up the largest foreign community in the country (239,744) followed by Britons (45,265) and Cape Verdeans (36,748).[5] The fourth largest, but the fastest growing, community of foreign residents in Portugal was represented by Indians; as of 2023 there were 35,416 foreigners holding Indian citizenship, a 626% increase since 2012.[14] It is worth noting that almost 9,000 Indians living in Portugal have acquired Portuguese citizenship since 2012: more than the number of Indians living in the country in 2012.[7] The majority of Indians living in Portugal are from the former Portuguese colony of Goa or from Gujarat.[15][16]

Portuguese and foreign born population pyramid in 2021

As of 2023, foreign citizens' origins were subdivided as follows: Europe (33.5%), America (33.1%), Asia (17.3%), Africa (16%) and Oceania (0.1%).[5]

The share of children born in Portugal to foreign resident mothers stood at 10.3% in 2011, 9.7% in 2017 and 16.7% in 2022.[17][18][19] Dealing with children born from foreign-born mothers, their share reached 25% in 2022.[20]

Due to population ageing, immigration is the only factor that has made the Portuguese population grow in recent years. For instance, despite the natural change from 2018 to 2022 being -176,021 people (meaning that in the given timespan the number of deaths exceeded the number of newborns by almost 180 thousand people) the overall population grew by 133,870 people, from 10,333,496 inhabitants as of 2018 to 10,467,366 in 2022. It is safe to say that the 1.3% growth rate experienced by the population of Portugal in the last five years was entirely due to immigration. Many scholars have pointed that, without immigration, the country's population could shrink to as low as 7 million people by 2100. Moreover, Catarina Reis Oliveira, the director of the Migration Observatory, highlights in a study that without immigrants, certain sectors of society would face collapse. Immigrants are essential for labor market efficiency, with foreigners in countries like Portugal displaying higher activity rates than nationals, as per the 2022 Annual Statistical Report of the Observatory.[21][22][23][24][25]

History

Portugal, for long a country of emigration, has become a meeting country of net immigration, and not just from the last Portuguese overseas territories in India (until 1961), Africa (until 1975), and Far East Asia (until 1999).

Retornados, return migration and first immigrant communities: 1954–1989

In 1954, India annexed the Portuguese territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and, in 1961, Daman and Diu and Goa. In the same year, the authorities of the newly independent Benin expelled the small Portuguese garrison holding the Fort of São João Baptista de Ajudá, in Ouidah. Some people, especially white Portuguese settlers and people of mixed Portuguese descent, started migrating towards Portugal immediately after these events. An important share of those coming from India and settling in Portugal flew via Karachi, a city hosting an important Goan community. Among those moving to Portugal there were also 3,000 Portuguese military officers.[26][27][28][29][30][31] According to a 2017 estimate by Casa de Goa - the association of Goans in Portugal - there were around 20,000 people of Goan descent living in the European country, although other estimates claim the community may have as much as 50,000 members.[32][33][34] The overwhelming majority of Goan-Portuguese speak Portuguese as native language and are Catholic, thus easing the integration process that occurred manly in the 1960s, following the annexation of Goa by the Indian Union.[35][36][37] Despite being just a fraction of the total number of Indians in Portugal (around 16% of the overall Indian community) Goans in Portugal are known for being fairly well integrated: already in the 19th century there were Goan MPs (e.g. Francisco Gomes) and in 1958 there were 23 university professors and 19 politicians of Goan descent. Interestingly, of the 13 Prime Ministers in Portuguese democratic history, 2 were of Goan descent (Alfredo Nobre da Costa and António Costa).[38][39][40] Unlike in the United Kingdom Goans in Portugal are mainly of upper class extraction and are highly qualified, who migrated on merit, before and in the years after liberation. Later, they were joined by migrants of Goan descent, from the African colonies, especially Mozambique.[41][42][43][44][45][46] On the other hand, Gujarati speakers from Daman and Diu tend to show lower level of integration, with a large community found in Marvila, Lisbon.[47][48]

Terreiro do Paço in 1975, during the retornados crisis

A major immigrant influx was recorded starting in 1974, when over a million Portuguese citizens from Portugal's African territories (mostly from Angola and Mozambique) migrated to Portugal.[49] They are known and are still referred as retornados (meaning "those who came back") — Portuguese settlers and descendants of Portuguese (or other European such as Germans or Italians) settlers born in former African colonies who relocated to Portugal after their independence and in the first half of the 1980s. Due to the Portuguese colonization, white and mestiço people were frowned upon, in many cases white Luso-Africans experienced racist incidents. In particular, due to the outbreak of the Angolan Civil War, Portuguese in Angola left en masse, often having to leave all of their possessions behind and being allowed to exit the country with only 15,000 escudos to start a new life; this is the equivalent of approximately euros () 2,750 as of 2022. Of those leaving Mozambique, many of the retornados were part of the Indian community in the country.[50][51][52][53][54][55]

Along with white retornados there were also some Black people, whose immigration process towards Portugal became visible especially after the Portuguese economic growth in the second half of the 1980s and the worsening of the conditions in Angola and Mozambique due to the civil wars.. One of the primary settlement areas for Black communities in Portugal , especially the Cape Verdean one, were the lands north of Lisbon, near the present-day parish of Benfica. Starting from the 1970s, numerous clandestine neighborhoods (bairros clandestinos) emerged here, often lacking basic services and plagued by crime-related issues.[56] From 1993 onwards, with Portugal's slum eradication program, many people have been provided with alternative public housing and, despite the initial discrimination, many have nowadays found success.[57][58][59]

A country of immigration: 1990–2007

Cape Verdean Batuque dancers in Damaia, Amadora in the early 90s

Immigration to Portugal, historically low, soared after the country's accession to the EU in 1986 and increased significantly starting in the late 1990s, also under form of human trafficking.[60][61]

Since the 1990s, along with a boom in construction, several waves of Ukrainians, Brazilians, people from the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and other Africans have settled in the country. Those communities currently make up the largest share of immigrants in Portugal and many have since acquired Portuguese citizenship. In particular, Ukrainian migration to Portugal commenced in the late 1990s, experiencing significant growth in the early 2000s. Initially, immigrants arrived through both organized and illegal channels, often with Schengen visas. While some initially intended short stays, many chose long-term residence, establishing families and pursuing the recognition of their qualifications for access to higher-paying jobs.[62][63][64]

In addition, Romanians, Moldovans, Chinese and Indians also started to choose Portugal as a destination starting in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Moreover, it is important to highlight that in 1999 Macau was returned to China (Handover of Macau) and many Macanese moved to Portugal: in a 1989 survey, 65% of the Macanese people were planning to leave Macau for Portugal or elsewhere.[65][66][67] According to a 1991 survey 70% of Macanese were planning to move elsewhere, with 63.5% of these planning to move to Portugal. In 1991 there were already 500 Macanese families living in Lisbon.[68][69][70][71]

Financial crisis and economic recession: 2008–2013

Immigration to Portugal decreased significantly after the dire consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. At the same time, emigration of both Portuguese and foreign nationals increased. Dealing with the Ukrainian community, for instance, declining investment in public projects and improved immigration control prompted many Ukrainians to leave.[72]

Afro-Portuguese in Lisbon

Between 2008 and 2013 unemployment rate in Portugal rose from 7.6% to 17.1%[73] and 2013 GDP was 7.60% lower than the value recorded for 2007 GDP.[74] Moreover, between 2007 and 2013 there was a 10.35% inflation rate, meaning that the Purchasing power of Portuguese families decreased significantly.[75] From 2008 to 2013, around 412,000 people left the country (51.2% did so permanently).[76] Of those who left the country 5.47% (22,547 people) were foreigners and 65.3% of the foreigners doing so left the country permanently. This means that 3.9% of the 2008 population left the country in just 6 years.

In fact, Portugal reached its historical population peak in 2009 when 10,573,479 people lived in the country: this value decreased to 10,395,121 people (−1.7%) at the end of 2013, due to the combined effect of increased emigration, decreasing immigration and population ageing.[77] It is significant to highlight that only 140,845 people immigrated to Portugal between 2008 and 2013 meaning that the country experienced a net migration loss of around −271,000. In particular, in 2012 less than 15,000 immigrants settled in Portugal.[78]

With the ease of the economic crisis and increase in tourism and industrial production, immigration increased again after 2013.

Economic recovery, NHR, EU pensioners, Golden Visa and Sephardi Jews: 2014–2019

Following the recovery of the Portuguese economy starting in 2014, immigration to Portugal increased once again. From 2014 to 2019, emigration decreased by 42.8% while immigration increased by 413%.[78]

A Portuguese residence permit issued to non-EU citizens

Between 2013 and 2019 the unemployment rate in Portugal fell from 17.1% to 6.6%[73] and 2019 GDP was 14.35% higher than the value recorded for 2013 GDP. It is also worth noting that the value recorded for 2019 GDP was 5.71% higher than the one recorded in 2007: Portugal officially recovered from the Financial crisis and the troika austerity measures in 2017.[74] Moreover, between 2014 and 2019 the increase in prices was modest (the country recorded a 3.54% inflation rate), meaning that the Purchasing power of Portuguese families increased significantly.[75]

During these years, almost 573,000 people left the country: despite Portugal's reputation as an economic success story since the financial crisis, many young, educated workers are still more attracted by significantly higher wages in countries such as the United Kingdom, France or Switzerland.[79] On the other hand, it is significant to note that the share of those leaving permanently fell to 38.4%, meaning that high skilled workers are, after 2013, more willing to come back to Portugal after having acquired some years of experience, typically in Northern European countries.[76] As a measure to revert skill-drain, population decrease and ageing, the government has since created new measures to attract Portuguese emigrants to return home.[80]

Of those who left the country 3.96% (22,685 people) were foreigners but only 31.4% of them left the country permanently. This means that although 5.5% of the 2013 population left the country in 6 years (2014–2019), the majority of them - or 61.6% - did so temporarily, meaning for less than one year.[77] After 2014 the country's population decline rate started to slow. The population still fell to 10,333,496 people in 2018 - equivalent to the country's population in January 2000 - but it was mostly due to population ageing. On the other hand, it is worth noting that by the end of 2019, due increasing immigration, Portugal's population had recovered the value recorded in 2014 (around 10,395,000).[77]

Lisbon, sign welcoming migrants to the city

It is significant to highlight that around 295,000 people immigrated permanently to Portugal between 2014 and 2019. In particular, 51.1% of those who settled in Portugal in this period did so between 2018 and 2019.[78] The surge in immigration was due to the good economic conditions of the country, to the crisis in Brazil (the primary source of immigration in Portugal) and to numerous programs devised during the years of the 2008–2013 crisis aimed at attracting foreign capitals: these include the Non-habitual residency (NHR) taxation law (2009), the Portuguese Golden Visa law (2012), and the Sephardi Nationality Act (2015).

The Portuguese government has thus not only developed strategies aiming at calling back Portuguese emigrants but also at attracting foreign citizens.

It is with this goal that in 2009 was devised a program that has attracted foreigners, particularly since 2013: it is the special tributary regime that grants to certain categories of new residents a flat tax and protects them from double taxation (NHR).[81] Many pensioners, especially from Northern European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and Norway have taken advantage of the law and moved to Portugal. Due to increased pressure from the countries of origin of the retirees as well as from the local Portuguese population (subject to a different taxation system) the program was drastically changed.[82][83][84][85][86] Nevertheless, pensioners continue coming to Portugal thanks to the high quality of life, Mediterranean climate and sunny weather.

Another program is the Golden visa law, devised in 2012. It is an immigrant investor program by the government of Portugal that granted residency in Portugal to people who invested in properties worth at least €500,000 or created 10 jobs in Portugal.[87] As of September 2023 the program has resulted in 33,142 residence permits granted, of which 38.4% to investors and 61.6% to their family members. 42.5% of the investors who have benefited from the program came from China, other significant countries include Brazil (9.88%), the US (6.14%), Turkey (4.82%) and South Africa (4.51%). Around 6.5 billion euros () were invested in the acquisition of 11,383 real estate properties (for a mean value of 566,754 ), but only 23 jobs were created.[88] In addition, around 867 million euros () were transferred to Portugal.[89] Due to the overwhelming majority of Golden visas being issued because of investments solely and exclusively dedicated to real estate and there being a very low investment in job creation and other activities adding value to the economy, the program has been cancelled in July 2023.[90][91]

Multi-ethnic Carnival in Arroios

A last measure that has boosted immigration to Portugal has been the law aimed at the descendants of Portuguese Jews expelled in 1496. In 2015 the Portuguese parliament officially acknowledged the expulsion as unrightful. To try to make up for the past mistakes, the government passed a law known as "Law of Return".[92] The law aims to right the historic wrongs of the Portuguese Inquisition, which resulted in the expulsion or forced conversion of thousands of Jews from Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries. The law grants citizenship to any descendants of those persecuted Jews who can prove their Sephardic Jewish ancestry and a "connection" to Portugal. It is intended to provide a measure of justice and recognition to those whose families suffered from discrimination and persecution centuries ago.[93][94][95][96] Since 2015, more than 262,000 people from 60 countries (mostly from Israel or Turkey) applied to Portuguese citizenship in virtue of them being of Sephardic descent, of which 75,000 (or 28.63% of the applicants) were granted Portuguese passports.[97][98][99][100][101] According to a 2023 estimate, there might be already 15,000 Portuguese-Israelis living in Portugal.[102] Despite the good intentions of the law, some doubts arose over the legitimate attribution of Portuguese citizenship after it was revealed that people such as Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich were Portuguese – thus EU – citizens under the new law. Due to the controversies and the recent judicial investigations the law will come to an end starting in December 2024.[103][104][105][106][107][108][109][110]

COVID-19 pandemic and increase in immigration: 2020–2022

Rua do Benformoso in Lisbon: there might be up to 15,000 people of Bangladeshi descent living in the neighbourhood[111][112][113]

Immigration to Portugal has steadily increased in the last years. At the beginning of 2020 there were 590,348 foreigners living in the country, their number increased to 662,095 at the end of 2020, to 698,887 at the end of 2021 and up to 781,915 at the end of 2022. This means that the relative incidence of foreigners has increased from 5.7% to 7.5% in just 3 years. From December 2019 to December 2022 the number of foreigners increased by 32.4%.

Some immigrant communities, like those arrived from Africa and South America, are growing as a result of economic migration – foreigners looking for better economic conditions abroad. The outlook of the economy of Portugal is good, unemployment remains stable and in line with the rest of the EU. In fact, since 2018 Portugal has recorded a lower unemployment rate than that recorded in both the Eurozone and the EU as a whole. For instance, in 2022 the unemployment rate in Portugal stood at 6%, while for the EU and the Eurozone the recorded values were respectively 6.2% and 6.8%.[73][114] In addition, despite suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic, the GDP recorded for 2022 was 3.22% higher than in 2019.[74]

Other immigrant communities, like most of those arrived from other EU member states, are a result of the attractiveness of the country for high income foreign citizens looking for a better quality of life, a warmer sunny weather, security and exquisite cuisine.

From 2020 to 2022 around 205,909 people emigrated from Portugal, continuing the decrease in emigration recorded since 2014. This means that 2.0% of the 2019 population left the country in the last 3 years but 60.2% did so temporarily, meaning for less than one year.[77] Moreover, it is worth noting that almost 300,000 people entered the country permanently since 2019, a sharp increase and the largest influx of immigrants ever recorded in Portugal since the 1980s.[78]

Despite the surge in immigration, it is, however, worth noting that in 2023, Portugal was still the European country with the most emigrants in relative terms. In the last 20 years,15 per cent of the population emigrated. Portugal had the highest proportion of emigrants in Europe and ranked eighth globally in terms of the percentage of its population who migrated.[115][116][117]

Lusophone migrants act and end of Golden visa, NHR and nationality for Sephardi Jews: 2023–present

It is expected that the number of foreigners will further increase in the next few years: in early 2023, Portugal regularized around 113,000 CPLP citizens residing illegally in the country.[118][119] By September the number of Portuguese-speaking immigrants who have received an "authorisation of residence" -valid for one year and automatically renewed for those with clean criminal record - had reached 151,000 people, of whom 75% are Brazilians.[120][121][122][123] In total, it was reported that in February 2023 around 300,000 foreigners who live illegally in Portugal were awaiting regularization.[12] By November of the same year, the number of those awaiting for regularization had soared to 700,000 people.[124]

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Portuguese PM António Costa visiting the Hindu Temple of Lisbon. Costa's government promoted the end of the NHR, Golden Visa and Sephardi nationality act

The Portuguese government had introduced, since the 2008 financial crisis, a number of measures aimed at attracting foreign capitals to the country. In particular, there have been the Non-habitual residency (NHR) taxation law (2009), the Portuguese Golden Visa law (2012), and the Sephardi Nationality Act (2015). Due to both international and internal pressure but also due to the economic recovery of the country, in 2023 it was announced that all three programs would have been phased out by the end of 2024.

The NHR, a scheme offering a flat tax and protection from double taxation for specific categories of new residents relocating to Portugal, underwent significant changes in 2020. This adjustment was prompted by an influx of pensioners, particularly from Nordic countries, who were moving to Portugal to take advantage of a fiscal regime that was deemed disadvantageous to their home countries. The Portuguese government has announced the end the 10-year tax incentive regime for non-permanent residents, including digital nomads, in 2024. Prime Minister António Costa stated that the regime will persist for current beneficiaries. Costa argued that maintaining differentiated tax levels for non-permanent residents would perpetuate fiscal injustice and inflate the real estate market. As of July 2023, 89,000 foreigners were benefiting from the non-permanent resident tax regime.[125][126][127]

Regarding the Golden Visa program, initiated in 2012, was officially terminated in October 2023 due to the Mais Habitação program, and new applications are no longer being accepted. The decision to end the program, aimed at foreigners purchasing real estate, was influenced by the escalating housing prices. The new law doesn't impact renewals but marks the end of new permits for investment activities. The Mais Habitação program, which faced opposition but was approved in July, includes measures like rent caps and restrictions on property sales to non-residents, leading to public protests.[128] There are still around 21,000 pending processes, of which around two thirds deal with family reunification.[129]

Street scene in Arroios

In 2023 it was also announced the end of the Law permitting people of Portuguese-Jewish descent to acquire Portuguese citizenship. Since 2013 around 262,000 people have requested to be naturalized as Portuguese citizens due to their Sephardi ancestry, with almost half being Israeli nationals. Of these, more than 75,000 have already acquired the Portuguese citizenship. Since the announcement of the end of the law in 2023, around 74,000 people have started their application process.[130][131][132] Amongst those who have acquired Portuguese citizenship there are 12 Israeli national football players.[133]

Despite the end of the abovementioned programs, the number of foreign nationals living in Portugal has witnessed a significant increase during 2023: by September there were 980,000 foreigners living in Portugal.[134] By December, the number had increased to a further 1,040,000 people, a 40% increase since January of the same year with 329,000 new residence permits given during 2023.[135][136][137] Of the foreigners living in Portugal, 35% were Brazilians: taking into account also Luso-Brazilians nationals and Brazilians awaiting for regularization, there are 750,000 Brazilians estimated living in Portugal.[138] It is also worth noting that in July 2023 the Portuguese government sent abroad - for the first time - officials to recruit workers in India, Morocco, Timor-Leste and Cabo Verde.[139]

It is estimated that in the 2024/2025 school year, amongst 83,134 pupils entering Portuguese public schooling system, 10,297 will be foreign nationals, representing 12.4% of the total and an increase of 1,160 pupils from 2023/24.[140] The increase in the number of foreigners was also recorded for the 2024/25 university applications received by Portuguese institutions by early 2024.[141]

Number of foreign residents

Foreign citizens living in Portugal in 2022

Brazilians are the most prevalent foreign nationality. The 239,744 resident Brazilians represent 2.29% of the total population. Other significant foreign communities (excluding naturalized citizens) are the ones from other countries of the Lusosphere. In 2023 there were 110,517 from PALOP countries (Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Principe, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde) as well as from Timor-Leste and Macau, corresponding to 1.06% of the total population.[5]

In addition, there is a thriving community of people from the Indian subcontinent (chiefly Indians and Nepalis) adding up to 86,698 people or 0.83% of total population.

A number of EU citizens have also chosen Portugal as a destination, with the majority being part of the British, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Belgian or Swedish communities. These communities are mostly composed of persons looking for quality of life and include an increasing number of pensioners.

Chinese restaurant in Lagos
Hindu festival in Portugal
Immigrants in Odemira
Alcácer do Sal, home to a vibrant Romanian community, mainly working in agriculture[142][143]
Mouraria, inter-ethnic shopping center in Martim Moniz, Lisbon[144]
Many Africans- particularly Cape Verdeans - have moved to Amadora[145]
Evangelical church in Lisbon. Most protestants in Portugal hail from Brazil[146]
Mahjong game in Mouraria
Street scene in Mouraria
Country of citizenship Number of foreign citizens in 2022[5]
1  Brazil 239,744
2  United Kingdom 45,265
3  Cape Verde 36,748
4  India 35,416
5  Italy 34,039
6  Angola 31,761
7  France 27,512
8  Ukraine 25,445
9    Nepal 23,839
10  Guinea-Bissau 23,737
11  Romania 23,393
12  China (including Hong Kong and Macau) 22,230
13  Germany 20,500
14  Spain 19,508
15  Bangladesh 16,468
16  São Tomé and Príncipe 13,077
17  Netherlands 12,066
18  Pakistan 10,828
19  United States 9,794
20  Venezuela 8,936
21  Belgium 6,088
22  Russia 6,075
23  Sweden 5,653
24  Moldova 5,243
25  Bulgaria 5,139
26  Mozambique 4,785
27  Poland 4,326
28  Ireland 4,159
29   Switzerland 3,501
30  Morocco 2,575
31  South Africa 2,162
32  Colombia 2,135
33  Senegal 2,014
34  Thailand 1,977
35  Iran 1,797
36  Austria 1,673

Evolution of the number of foreign residents

The following table shows the evolution of the number of foreigners whose residence is legally registered in Portugal from January 2008 to January 2016. The table considers the most frequent foreign nationalities found in the country and deals with foreigners only, thus excluding those who have acquired Portuguese citizenship, their descendants and people with migrant background.[147]

African immigrants in Rossio, Lisbon

During the given timespan, the number of foreigners in Portugal fell from 446,333 to 388,731, recording a 12.89% loss in eight years. In fact, Portugal was particularly hit by the 2008 Global recession. It is indeed worth noting that between 2008 and 2013, Portugal experienced a notable uptick in its unemployment rate, escalating from 7.6% to 17.1%. The GDP in 2013 saw a marked 7.60% decline compared to its 2007 value. During this period, inflation reached 10.35%, substantially eroding the purchasing power of Portuguese households. Of those who were obliged to leave the country 5.47% or 22,547 people were foreign nationals and 65.3% of the foreigners doing so left the country permanently.[73][75][74] Despite the crisis and the subsequent emigration, one of the main reasons for the reduction in the number of foreigners in Portugal is due to the high number of naturalisations: 179,458 foreigners became Portuguese from January 2008 to December 2015.[8]

Dealing with the main foreign communities, one can see that:[8]

  1. Communities whose decline is mostly attributable to citizenship acquisition:
    • Between 2008 and 2016, the Cape Verdean population in Portugal decreased by 25,993. Yet, during the same period, 31,970 Cape Verdeans gained Portuguese citizenship, resulting in a net gain of 5,977 of recent Cape Verdean migrant background;
    • From 2009 to 2016, the number of Ukrainians in Portugal fell by 16,715. However, 18,206 Ukrainians became Portuguese citizens, resulting in a net increase of 1,491 people of recent Ukrainian migrant background;
    • Between 2008 and 2016, the Angolan community in Portugal reduced by 14,572, but 14,945 Angolans acquired Portuguese citizenship, maintaining the community of recent Angolan migrant background size;
    • From 2010 to 2016, the Guinean-Bissau community shrank by 7,948, yet 16,284 Guinean-Bissauans became Portuguese, resulting in a net growth of 8,336 of recent Guinean-Bissau migrant background;
    • From 2009 to 2016 the São Tomé e Príncipe community declined by 2,171 people. Since during the same timespan 7,185 Senegalese acquired Portuguese citizenship, the community of people of recent São Tomé e Príncipe migrant background in the country actually increased by 5,014 people;
    • From 2009 to 2016 the Senegalese community declined by 558 people. Since during the same timespan 1,205 Senegalese acquired Portuguese citizenship, the community of people of recent Senegalese migrant background in the country actually increased by 647 people;
    • From 2010 to 2016, the Georgian community decreased by 445. However, 644 Georgians gained Portuguese citizenship, resulting in a net growth of 199 people of recent Georgian migrant background;
    • Between 2009 and 2016, the Guinean community in Portugal decreased by 325. Nevertheless, 2,201 Guineans became Portuguese citizens, leading to a net increase of 1,876 of recent Guinean migrant background;
    • Between 2009 and 2016, the Belarusian community shrank by 384. Yet, 412 Belarusians became Portuguese citizens, maintaining community size;
    • From 2009 to 2016, the Ecuadorian community fell by 211. Nevertheless, 289 Ecuadorians acquired Portuguese citizenship, keeping the community size stable.
  2. Communities whose decline is mostly attributable to other factors such as emigration:
    • Between January 2011 and January 2016, the number of Brazilians residing in Portugal decreased by 36,773. During the same period, 26,100 Brazilians acquired Portuguese nationality, indicating that, considering both natural changes (such as births and deaths) and the influx of migrants, Portugal saw a net loss of 10,673 Brazilians;
    • From 2009 to 2016 the Moldovan community in Portugal declined by 14,199 people: this is mostly attributable to the fact that 14,082 Moldovans became Portuguese during the given period, even though the migration surplus suggests a net decrease of 117 Moldovans.
    • Between 2008 and 2016 the number of English people fell by 6,341. Since only 127 Britons became Portuguese nationals during the same period, this means the British community fell by 6,214 people;
    • Between 2008 and 2016 the number of Mozambicans fell by 3,145. Since 1,615 Mozambicans became Portuguese nationals during the same period, this means the Mozambican community fell by 1,530 people;
    • Between 2008 and 2016 the number of French people fell by 2,099. Since only 178 French became Portuguese nationals during the same period, this means the French community fell by 1,921 people.
Country 2008[148][149] 2009[150][149] 2010[151][149] 2011[152][149] 2012[153][149] 2013[154][149] 2014[155][149] 2015[156][149] 2016[157][149]
 Brazil 70,132 Increase 106,961 Increase 116,220 Increase 119,363 Decrease111,445 Decrease105,622 Decrease92,120 Decrease87,493 Decrease82,590
 United Kingdom 23,574 Decrease15,372 Increase 16,374 Increase 17,202 Increase 17,681 Decrease16,655 Decrease16,474 Increase 16,562 Increase 17,233
 Cape Verde 64,667 Decrease51,353 Decrease48,845 Decrease43,979 Decrease43,920 Decrease42,857 Decrease42,401 Decrease40,912 Decrease38,674
 India 4,401 Increase 5,519 Increase 5,782 Decrease5,271 Increase 5,384 Increase 5,657 Increase 6,022 Increase 6,421 Increase 6,935
European Union Italy 5,994 Decrease3,915 Increase 4,500 Increase 5,067 Increase 5,338 Decrease5,222 Decrease5,121 Increase 5,328 Increase 6,130
 Angola 32,819 Decrease27,619 Decrease26,557 Decrease23,494 Decrease21,563 Decrease20,366 Decrease20,177 Decrease19,710 Decrease18,247
European Union France 10,540 Decrease4,576 Increase 4,883 Increase 5,111 Increase 5,293 Decrease5,201 Increase 5,268 Increase 6,542 Increase 8,441
 Ukraine 39,606 Increase 52,494 Decrease52,293 Decrease49,505 Decrease48,022 Decrease44,074 Decrease41,091 Decrease37,852 Decrease35,779
   Nepal 314 Increase 560 Increase 685 Increase 797 Increase 1,145 Increase 1,702 Increase 2,588 Increase 3,544 Increase 4,798
 Guinea-Bissau 25,039 Decrease24,390 Decrease22,945 Decrease19,817 Decrease18,487 Decrease17,759 Increase 17,846 Increase 17,981 Decrease17,091
European Union Romania 19,280 Increase 27,769 Increase 32,457 Increase 36,830 Increase 39,312 Decrease35,216 Decrease34,204 Decrease31,505 Decrease30,523
 China 10,982 Increase 13,347 Increase 14,412 Increase 15,714 Increase 16,795 Increase 17,460 Increase 18,681 Increase 21,453 Decrease21,376
European Union Germany 15,493 Decrease8,187 Increase 8,614 Increase 8,967 Increase 9,054 Decrease8,606 Decrease 8,581 Increase 8,752 Increase 9,035
European Union Spain 18,031 Decrease7,220 Increase 8,060 Increase 8,918 Increase 9,310 Increase 9,351 Increase 9,541 Increase 9,692 Increase 10,019
 Bangladesh 1,193 Increase 1,577 Decrease1,346 Decrease1,007 Increase 1,149 Increase 1,351 Increase 1,733 Increase 2,074 Increase 2,571
 São Tomé and Príncipe 11,015 Increase 11,726 Decrease11,514 Decrease10,516 Increase 10,518 Decrease10,376 Decrease10,304 Decrease10,167 Decrease9,555
European Union Netherlands 6,598 Decrease4,360 Increase 4,577 Increase 4,725 Increase 4,862 Decrease4,848 Increase 4,991 Increase 5,262 Increase 5,855
 Pakistan 2,383 Increase 2,736 Decrease2,698 Decrease2,604 Decrease2,474 Decrease2,425 Increase 2,628 Increase 2,785 Increase 3,042
 United States 8,733 Decrease2,373 Decrease2,293 Decrease2,236 Increase 2,332 Increase 2,427 Increase 2,785 Decrease2,728 Decrease2,619
 Venezuela 3,740 Decrease2,364 Decrease2,169 Decrease2,009 Decrease1,999 Decrease1,945 Decrease1,898 Increase 1,913 Increase 2,010
European Union Belgium 3,101 Decrease1,560 Increase 1,609 Increase 1,707 Increase 1,752 Increase 1,771 Increase 1,881 Increase 2,105 Increase 2,388
 Russia 5,674 Increase 6,191 Decrease6,132 Decrease5,299 Decrease4,878 Decrease4,581 Decrease4,428 Decrease4,404 Decrease4,260
European Union Sweden 1,655 Decrease699 Increase 746 Increase 804 Increase 918 Increase 977 Increase 1,189 Increase 1,415 Increase 1,989
 Moldova 14,813 Increase 21,147 Decrease20,773 Decrease15,641 Decrease13,586 Decrease11,503 Decrease9,971 Decrease8,460 Decrease6,948
European Union Bulgaria 5,076 Increase 6,456 Increase 7,202 Increase 8,174 Increase 8,606 Decrease7,439 Increase 7,553 Decrease7,037 Decrease6,722
 Mozambique 5,954 Decrease3,372 Decrease3,328 Decrease3,122 Decrease3,028 Decrease2,909 Decrease2,849 Decrease2,832 Decrease2,809
European Union Poland 913 Increase 925 Increase 1,042 Increase 1,195 Increase 1,280 Decrease1,222 Increase 1,238 Increase 1,307 Increase 1,382
European Union Ireland 887 Decrease616 Increase 707 Increase 813 Increase 862 Decrease838 Decrease805 Increase 823 Increase 892
  Switzerland 1,842 Decrease1,011 Decrease1,003 Increase 1,036 Decrease1,030 Decrease1,025 Increase 1,055 Increase 1,104 Increase 1,263
 Morocco 1,928 Decrease1,870 Increase 1,933 Decrease1,779 Increase 1,796 Decrease1,756 Increase 1,808 Decrease1,731 Decrease1,681
 South Africa 2,116 Decrease597 Decrease589 Decrease580 Increase 582 Decrease573 Decrease560 Increase 620 Increase 635
 Colombia 675 Decrease591 Increase 592 Decrease586 Increase 759 Increase 855 Increase 866 Increase 869 Increase 907
 Senegal 1,966 Increase2,073 Decrease1,778 Decrease1,677 Decrease1,626 Increase 1,631 Increase 1,670 Decrease1,629 Decrease1,515
 Thailand 193 Increase278 Increase455 Increase722 Increase922 Increase1,009 Increase1,021 Increase1,169 Increase1,428
 Iran 632 Decrease177 Increase215 Increase261 Increase339 Increase447 Increase499 Increase525 Increase545
European Union Austria 827 Decrease422 Increase445 Increase494 Increase522 Decrease510 Increase537 Increase561 Increase607
 Canada 1,992 Decrease785 Decrease701 Increase721 Increase723 Increase746 Decrease732 Increase741 Decrease738
European Union Denmark 1,075 Decrease432 Increase468 Decrease464 Increase487 Increase500 Increase515 Increase525 Increase575
 Cuba 731 Increase802 Increase850 Decrease816 Decrease795 Increase803 Increase841 Increase917 Decrease901
 Turkey 310 Decrease286 Increase322 Increase404 Increase440 Increase537 Decrease431 Increase650 Decrease596
 Uzbekistan 604 Increase851 Increase951 Increase1,075 Increase1,104 Increase1,119 Decrease1,081 Decrease1,024 Decrease992
European Union Hungary 386 Decrease333 Increase352 Increase428 Increase435 Decrease414 Increase424 Increase482 Decrease480
European Union Finland 702 Decrease354 Steady354 Increase374 Increase395 Decrease391 Increase397 Increase543 Increase834
 Philippines 496 Decrease475 Increase491 Increase540 Increase586 Increase623 Increase638 Increase668 Increase756
 Syria 96 Decrease24 Increase25 Steady25 Decrease24 Increase34 Increase73 Increase144 Increase164
 Guinea 1,847 Increase1,851 Decrease1,848 Decrease1,409 Increase1,549 Increase1,603 Increase1,621 Decrease1,600 Decrease1,526
 Norway 834 Decrease375 Increase379 Increase428 Increase432 Increase436 Increase455 Increase490 Increase515
 Argentina 717 Decrease474 Increase498 Decrease494 Decrease487 Decrease485 Decrease462 Decrease461 Decrease447
 Nigeria 354 Decrease281 Increase299 Decrease286 Increase325 Increase350 Increase365 Increase424 Increase428
 Algeria 231 Decrease224 Increase231 Increase253 Decrease248 Increase257 Increase288 Increase308 Increase316
European Union Lithuania 430 Increase505 Increase558 Increase614 Decrease546 Decrease542 Decrease532 Steady532 Increase535
European Union Greece 252 Decrease139 Increase157 Increase163 Increase178 Decrease161 Increase170 Increase191 Increase248
 Indonesia 38 Increase53 Increase72 Increase99 Decrease98 Increase130 Steady130 Steady130 Increase140
 Mexico 363 Decrease245 Increase281 Increase310 Increase311 Increase326 Increase385 Increase413 Increase433
 Afghanistan 5 Decrease1 Increase2 Increase3 Increase5 Increase27 Increase31 Increase34 Increase41
 Kazakhstan 598 Increase740 Increase748 Decrease740 Decrease704 Decrease666 Decrease623 Decrease582 Decrease537
European Union Latvia 193 Increase240 Increase311 Increase383 Decrease370 Decrease361 Decrease335 Decrease313 Increase333
European Union Czech Republic 313 Decrease202 Increase223 Increase251 Decrease231 Decrease210 Increase231 Increase264 Increase274
 Belarus 782 Increase1,016 Decrease1,002 Decrease910 Decrease823 Decrease758 Decrease744 Decrease695 Decrease632
 Tunisia 124 Decrease123 Increase136 Decrease132 Decrease130 Decrease128 Increase162 Increase171 Increase176
 Australia 544 Decrease230 Decrease220 Decrease218 Increase224 Increase226 Increase252 Increase263 Increase269
 Egypt 358 Increase409 Decrease394 Decrease333 Decrease313 Decrease299 Increase321 Increase329 Decrease298
 Peru 325 Decrease260 Increase282 Decrease267 Increase277 Increase282 Increase294 Decrease278 Decrease256
 Equador 427 Increase503 Decrease471 Decrease419 Decrease364 Decrease338 Decrease325 Decrease298 Decrease292
European Union Luxembourg 165 Decrease124 Increase130 Increase137 Decrease130 Decrease128 Decrease122 Increase142 Increase144
 Lebanon 206 Decrease57 Decrease46 Increase47 Increase51 Increase72 Increase95 Increase167 Decrease162
 Chile 301 Decrease177 Increase210 Increase213 Increase218 Decrease205 Decrease173 Decrease165 Increase183
 Israel 137 Decrease72 Decrease66 Increase71 Increase78 Increase84 Increase92 Increase94 Increase108
 Japan 976 Decrease383 Decrease377 Decrease368 Increase385 Increase392 Increase393 Decrease386 Increase397
 Iraq 157 Decrease30 Increase40 Decrease36 Increase44 Increase84 Increase93 Increase125 Increase126
European Union Slovakia 187 Decrease173 Increase197 Increase208 Decrease198 Decrease171 Increase174 Decrease156 Increase164
 Georgia 868 Increase1,128 Increase1,172 Decrease1,098 Decrease1,040 Decrease949 Decrease902 Decrease847 Decrease727
 Vietnam 15 Increase18 Increase56 Increase79 Decrease67 Increase108 Decrease65 Increase78 Decrease77
European Union Croatia 154 Decrease80 Decrease76 Increase84 Increase85 Increase86 Increase101 Increase141 Increase174
 Gambia 90 Increase116 Steady116 Decrease110 Increase119 Increase139 Increase157 Increase163 Decrease152
European Union Estonia 86 Decrease79 Increase111 Increase113 Increase114 Decrease104 Increase109 Increase111 Increase121
 Timor Leste 86 Decrease77 Increase111 Increase158 Increase177 Increase303 Decrease245 Decrease201 Decrease169
 Jordan 92 Decrease34 Decrease33 Increase36 Decrease33 Increase40 Increase49 Increase73 Increase138
 Serbia 380 Decrease287 Decrease249 Decrease219 Decrease186 Increase215 Decrease213 Decrease195 Decrease192
 Cameroon 79 Decrease72 Increase84 Decrease76 Decrease72 Increase95 Increase108 Increase132 Decrease127
European Union Slovenia 57 Decrease44 Increase49 Increase60 Increase61 Decrease60 Increase71 Increase82 Increase96
 DRC 425 Decrease210 Decrease184 Decrease171 Increase178 Increase238 Increase243 Decrease234 Increase235
 South Korea 263 Decrease131 Increase144 Increase146 Increase155 Increase170 Decrease156 Increase187 Decrease182
 Uruguay 154 Decrease126 Increase128 Increase135 Decrease126 Steady126 Increase128 Decrease123 Decrease122
 Ghana 202 Increase213 Decrease197 Decrease169 Decrease156 Decrease147 Decrease145 Decrease143 Decrease137
 Ivory Coast 157 Decrease123 Decrease120 Decrease118 Decrease100 Increase115 Increase117 Increase120 Increase121
 Dominican Republic 92 Decrease64 Increase70 Increase86 Increase98 Increase114 Increase133 Increase136 Decrease132
 Eritrea 0 Increase2 Increase4 Decrease1 Increase5 Increase38 Decrease35 Steady35 Increase40
 Sudan 16 Decrease7 Steady7 Steady7 Increase9 Increase29 Increase34 Decrease32 Increase38
European Union Cyprus 3 Increase8 Increase11 Steady11 Increase12 Steady12 Increase13 Decrease11 Increase12
 Paraguay 47 Steady47 Increase71 Increase88 Decrease83 Increase89 Increase99 Decrease97 Decrease92
 Iceland 68 Decrease31 Increase34 Increase42 Increase47 Increase53 Decrease51 Increase59 Increase62
 Bolivia 99 Increase107 Increase118 Decrease117 Increase128 Decrease120 Decrease116 Steady116 Decrease109
 Sierra Leone 115 Decrease54 Increase59 Decrease55 Decrease47 Increase48 Increase55 Decrease52 Increase63
 New Zealand 79 Decrease35 Decrease33 Increase35 Decrease30 Increase33 Steady33 Increase42 Decrease39
European Union Malta 14 Increase17 Increase22 Decrease17 Increase24 Decrease20 Decrease18 Increase22 Increase25
 Sri Lanka 3 Increase16 Increase18 Steady18 Decrease17 Increase38 Increase47 Increase54 Increase60
 Libya 54 Decrease24 Decrease10 Increase13 Increase16 Increase27 Increase60 Increase116 Increase196
 Malaysia 59 Decrease33 Increase34 Decrease29 Increase38 Decrease34 Increase37 Increase50 Increase59
 Kenya 311 Decrease60 Decrease50 Decrease41 Decrease40 Increase45 Increase58 Decrease54 Increase64
 Singapore 46 Decrease13 Increase15 Increase21 Increase27 Decrease22 Increase29 Increase32 Decrease28
 Costa Rica 22 Decrease19 Increase22 Increase56 Decrease54 Decrease52 Increase53 Increase59 Decrease53
 Albania 60 Decrease53 Decrease42 Decrease37 Decrease36 Steady36 Decrease33 Increase34 Increase42
 Armenia 61 Increase88 Decrease83 Increase94 Decrease88 Decrease73 Increase81 Decrease80 Decrease74
 Guatemala 35 Decrease25 Increase31 Increase36 Increase39 Increase45 Steady45 Increase49 Increase51
 Panama 38 Decrease33 Decrease31 Increase32 Increase39 Steady39 Decrease28 Increase32 Decrease27
 Zimbabwe 92 Decrease39 Decrease37 Decrease33 Decrease26 Decrease25 Increase29 Increase32 Increase38
 Congo 134 Decrease131 Decrease120 Decrease91 Increase93 Decrease91 Decrease83 Decrease78 Decrease64
 Mali 115 Decrease108 Decrease95 Decrease79 Decrease66 Decrease62 Decrease57 Increase58 Decrease45
 El Salvador 17 Increase21 Increase23 Increase30 Increase39 Decrease37 Decrease34 Decrease32 Increase36
 South Sudan 0 Steady0 Steady0 Steady0 Steady0 Steady0 Steady0 Steady0 Steady0
 Somalia 1 Steady1 Decrease0 Steady0 Increase1 Increase58 Increase63 Decrease55