Demography and economic geography. – Southern European state. At the 2011 census the population of the Portugal was equal to 10,562,178 residents; according to an estimate by UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) in 2014 it amounted to 10,610,304 residents. This population, which due to the sharp decrease in fertility and the significant lengthening of the average life span has entered a phase of aging, is unevenly distributed, with a density of about 115 residents / km2 and strong differences between the internal areas, still partly linked to agro-pastoral activities, and those close to the coast and the major cities: the Portugal was in fact affected by rural depopulation and, at the same time, by urbanization processes. Until the end of the 20th century. the urban population was found to be at very low values, inexplicable for a European country, but this anomaly stemmed from a choice of statistical indicators other than those commonly adopted; however, even the values recorded in the early years of the new century (61,
The Portugal has two metropolitan cities: the capital, Lisbon, which counted 547,733 residents to the census survey of 2011 (2,042,477 in the entire urban agglomeration), and Porto (respectively, 237,591 and 1,287,282 residents). These two urban agglomerations therefore host 31.5% of the country’s total population. The other major cities (Amadora, Almada, Braga, Coimbra, Funchal, Setúbal) are demographically modest urban centers; if the second city of the country has about half the residents of the first, the third hosts just one seventh of the population of the second; therefore, the network of medium-sized cities which forms an indispensable fabric for the territorial functionality of a country is completely missing.
During the first decade of the 21st century. the Portugal went through a severe and deep economic recession, with an unemployment rate that in 2014 was 14.2%, steadily growing since 2008. Portuguese banks announced, in April 2010, that it was impossible to buy public debt securities at auction; a year later, the outcome of the short-term government bond auction was the wake-up call for the imminent liquidity crisis. The Portugal was paying for the condition of very low economic growth rates, due to the erosion of competitiveness, of wages that were too high compared to productivity, of inadequate or insufficient infrastructures, of a scarce rationalization of public spending. The lack of development was combined with insufficient tax revenue: these factors, inserted in the context of a crisis of investor confidence, they quickly led the country to be unable to refinance itself on the market and to honor the debt already contracted. After making an official request for aid amounting to 80 billion euros (April 2011), the Eurogroup approved the rescue plan in May following, granted on the condition that Parliament approves the fiscal consolidation. The intervention was granted in a situation of extreme state funds emergency, unable to cover reimbursements and ordinary expenses. Subsequently (August 2011) the Portuguese Parliament discussed and approved heavy measures to reduce the deficit and expenses, among the toughest in the last fifty years.
In the last quarter of 2013, the Portugal The Bank of Portugal revised upwards its growth forecasts for the following months; the confidence index in the country’s economy reached, in March 2013, the highest rate since 2008. Growth was favored above all by exports, with an increase of 24% starting from 2008, widespread in all sectors of the production cycle. In 2014, the GDP of Portugal was equal to $ 228.2 billion and the GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (PPA) at $ 26,306. The percentage contribution to the formation of GDP by the three sectors is as follows: primary, 2.3%; secondary, 23.6%; tertiary sector, 74.1%. Among the tertiary activities, tourism stands out in clear growth, both for employees and for its contribution to GDP (7.5 million admissions in 2012); followed by the cultural one, polarized to a large extent on Lisbon, and the seaside one, which has ‘colonized’, not without environmental damage, the Algarve coast. About two thirds of the Portugal’s industrial capacity is concentrated in the region that includes Lisbon and Setúbal, with predominantly chemical, automotive, electronics, cement processing, fish preservation, as well as wood and cork processing industries. For Portugal business, please check cheeroutdoor.com.
History. – At the turn of the first decade of the 21st century. Portugal continued to be one of the poorest countries in the European Union, to have to face a massive budget deficit – prior to the global economic crisis that began in 2008 – and to be characterized by a strongly bipolar political system, based on alternating government of the Partido socialista (PS) and of the conservative Partido social democrata (PSD).
Despite the protests and strikes that had challenged his economic and social reforms, the socialist government chaired by José Sócrates, in office since 2005, despite losing the absolute majority in Parliament, was reconfirmed in the 2009 elections, when the PS won 36., 6% of the votes (97 seats) against 29.1% (81 seats) of the PSD. The socialist government was very active in terms of civil rights: after the legalization of abortion within the first ten weeks of pregnancy (2007), same-sex marriage was allowed in 2010. The President of the Republic Aníbal Cavaco Silva (PSD) – in office since 2006 and, later, reconfirmed with 53% of the votes in 2011 -, despite being contrary to the two laws,
The consequences of the global economic and financial crisis that began in 2008 were particularly severe for Portugal. To tackle them and to reduce the budget deficit, the Sócrates government approved some measures such as the freezing of the salaries of civil servants and an increase in the value added tax (Nov. 2010). These measures were strongly criticized in the country and in March 2011, after a vote of no confidence on the fourth austerity plan presented in a year, Sócrates resigned. Having remained in office provisionally until the new elections, in May 2011 his government – in the face of an increasingly massive budget deficit – decided to join the 78 billion euro bailout program granted by the so-called troika (European Commission,
The new elections (June 2011) saw the collapse of the PS (28.1%, 74 seats) and the affirmation of the PSD (38.7%, 108 seats), whose leader Pedro Passos Coelho was placed at the helm of a government coalition with the right-wing party CDS-PP (Centro Democrático Social-Partido Popular, 11.7%, 24 seats).
In the following years, the government took further austerity measures to meet the bailout criteria: extensive privatizations of key companies in the country (such as shipyards), tax increases, massive cuts in health and education, and the suppression of thousands of jobs, measures that aggravated unemployment and pushed many Portuguese to emigrate. Heavily contested in the country, these measures allowed the Portugal to exit the rescue plan in June 2014, but led to a collapse of the consensus for the PSD, as evidenced by the negative electoral results in the local elections of autumn 2013 and in the European elections of May 2014., in which the two governing parties – united in the single Aliança Portugal list – won only 7 seats out of 21. In August 2014, bad bank); the healthy activities instead flowed into a new bank, called Novo Banco.