The serious economic crisis of recent years
has caused both the middle class and poor Portuguese to
see their standard of living decline. Real wages have
fallen and social security systems have been eroded,
while unemployment has risen rapidly. However, some
recovery has taken place, among other things,
unemployment has again decreased. The Socialist
government, which took office at the end of 2015, has
sought to restore certain social benefits (see Finance).
Before the 1974 revolution Portugal was a backward
corner of Europe with widespread poverty, illiteracy and
high child mortality. Even today, compared to other
western countries, Portugal is a poor country with large
regional variations in social and economic standards.
The difference in income distribution between the
richest and the poorest is one of the largest in the EU.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Portugal, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Most residents of the capital Lisbon, while the
inland to the north is most disadvantaged. Almost a
quarter of Portugal's population lives in relative
poverty, which means they earn less than € 350 a month.
Deficiencies in social security networks
Sickness compensation exists, as does the right to
parental leave. Opportunities for social assistance,
unemployment benefits, disability benefits and more are
limited. For example, almost six out of ten unemployed
people are not expected to receive any unemployment
benefit, and the social security contributions that are
paid are not enough to keep contributions above the
poverty line. Family ties are strong and family is often
the resource to be trusted when society's social
Basic health care is free of charge for everyone
living in the country, but it is inefficient and
neglected in European dimensions. The waiting times are
often long. The savings requirements that arose during
the economic crisis in the 2000s (see Finance) have
meant that several health centers and care units have
been merged. The privately owned alternatives to public
health care have become more numerous, but only one
tenth of the population is estimated to have access to
private health insurance. Child mortality is still one
of the highest in Europe.
An aging population means that pensions are a growing
expenditure item in the state budget. In order to
rectify the problem, the compensation levels have been
lowered and the retirement age increased. The Portuguese
are also encouraged to continue working even after they
reach retirement age. The basic rule is that old-age
pensions are paid from the age of 65 to people who have
worked for at least 15 years of their life, but for
those who have never been employed there is also a form
The situation for women, children and LGBTQ people
Although the constitution guarantees gender equality,
Portuguese society is still male-dominated. Today,
however, more than half of women are employed, compared
with just over a tenth in 1960, and in 2015, almost a
third of MPs were women. At the same time, women's wages
are generally lower than men's and unemployment among
women is higher than among men.
Abortion was previously only allowed in exceptional
cases: when the mother's life was in danger, in severe
birth defects and in the case of rape. Following a 2007
referendum, the law was amended to allow abortion during
the first ten weeks of a pregnancy. Every third
Portuguese woman has been subjected to domestic
Prostitution is allowed, but it is illegal to engage
in prostitution and human trafficking or to force anyone
into prostitution. Many prostitutes in Portugal
originate in Brazil, Eastern Europe or Africa.
The rights of the children have become increasingly
prominent in recent years. Primary school and health
care are free of charge for all children. Portuguese
must be 16 years before they are allowed to work and 18
years to take up defense. Despite the ban, child labor
exists in agriculture, in shoe and textile factories, on
construction and in the hotel industry, although there
has been a decline in recent years.
The nuclear family dominates throughout the country,
but in northern Portugal, some still live in large
families with several generations.
Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation
is prohibited by law, but still exists. Same-sex
marriage became legal in 2010. Six years later, two
people of the same sex were allowed to raise children
through adoption. In 2016, women in same-sex couples
were also allowed to have assisted conception.
In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drug use, with a
view to curbing widespread heroin abuse. Instead,
efforts would be put in place to counteract abuse and
offer addicts treatment. This led to a clear reduction
in the number of drug-related deaths, and fewer addicts
were infected with HIV. The country now allows the
cultivation of marijuana for export for medical use.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
3 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.5 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
99.9 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
99.6 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
9.0 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
1 801 US dollars (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
35 percent (2018)
General strike against new austerity
The government presents yet another austerity package in an attempt to reduce
the high government debt. The framework for the 2011 budget is adopted by the
National Assembly. A general strike is being held on the initiative of the major
trade unions and affects healthcare, police, industry, communications with
several social sectors.
Member of the UN Security Council
Portugal gets one of the temporary seats in the UN Security Council. The
two-year term of office shall begin on 1 January 2011.
Government policy is supported by Parliament
The National Assembly adopts the vast majority of the government's proposals
for financial austerity.
New protests against the budget cuts
The National Assembly decides on higher taxes for high-income earners and on
share profits. Tens of thousands of people are demonstrating in Lisbon in
protest of government proposals to freeze public servants' salaries and to make
more budget cuts in combination with new tax increases.
New tax increases, more cuts
The government presents an economic austerity package aimed at reducing the
deficit in the state budget. The package includes both tax increases and cuts in
the public sector. Tens of thousands of public servants strike for one day in
protest of the government's plans to freeze their salaries.