The Minister for Territorial Cohesion said today that the loss of population is worrying and that Portugal will have to work on a very active and welcoming immigration policy to meet the planned investments.
“As we are in a special period of investment, we are going to need a lot of manpower, a lot of workers, and I believe that this can only be achieved with a very active policy of attracting immigrants and treating them well,” he said. Ana Abrunhosa to journalists, at the end of the evocative session of the 50th company incubated in the Habitat of Business Innovation in Strategic Sectors (HIESE) of Penela, in the district of Coimbra.
Data released today by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) indicate that in the last decade, between 2011 and 2021, Portugal registered a population decrease of 2% and accentuated the pattern of littoralization and population concentration near the capital.
For the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, the preliminary results of two Censuses 2021 they are not “a surprise” and reflect a problem that “is not from today, but from decades, and is not exclusive to Portugal”.
“We lost population, which is worrying, not only in the interior but throughout the country, and we only gained population in two areas. In order to recover the country’s economy, and with the investment that we plan to make, a large part of that investment has to be made by people we don’t have”, he stressed.
According to Ana Abrunhosa, “this population loss it cannot and must not mean that the interior territories are deserted”.
“The loss of population cannot mean desertification and the fact that today we have science and technology also means that we can, with fewer people, continue to occupy these territories”, he stressed.
However, the government official stressed that the country has to be realistic and that “even with active policies for the birth rate and for attracting immigrants, it is very difficult to recover the population of 100 years ago in the interior territories”.
“The loss of population in the interior is not from today, it is not from yesterday nor from the day before, it is several decades ago. But one thing is certain, in the interior territories we are going to be able to stop the loss of population and not allow these territories to become desertified”, he stressed.
The problem of desertification “is Europe’s” and, in Portugal, “requires collective solutions, not only from the Government, local authorities, but also from civil society”, added Ana Abrunhosa.
Portugal currently has 10,347,892 residents, 214,286 less than in 2011, according to the preliminary results of the 2021 Census.
In census terms, the only decade in which there was a decrease in population was between 1960 and 1970, indicated INE.
Preliminary data show that in Portugal there are 4,917,794 men (48%) and 5,430,098 women (52%).
The 2021 Census collection phase took place between the 5th of April and the 31st of May and the data refer to the date of the census, on the 19th of April.