Country Listing

Portugal Table of Contents



Population: Estimated at 10.5 million in 1992; growth rate of 0.4 percent in 1992.

Education and Literacy: Primary education (age six to twelve) and junior high school (age thirteen to fifteen) free and compulsory, but because many children began working at early age, primary education was all education many children received. Senior high school (age sixteen to seventeen) had academic and vocational components. Twelfth grade (age eighteen) prepared youths for university and technical college. Estimated literacy rate for those over age fifteen in 1990 85 percent.

Health: Uneven provision of health care; health care available ranged from high quality to that prevalent in the Third World. Many Portuguese, especially those living in rural areas, not able to enjoy liberal health benefits provided for in legislation. Infant mortality rate greatly improved in last few decades to estimated rate of 10 per 1,000 in 1992. Life expectancy seventy-one years for males and seventy-eight for females in 1992.

Language: Portuguese

Ethnic Groups: Homogeneous Mediterranean stock on mainland, Azores, and Madeira Islands. Less than 100,000 citizens of black African descent, who immigrated in 1970s to Portugal from its former colonies in Africa; small number of Gypsies; small Jewish community.

Religion: 97 percent nominally Roman Catholic; Protestant denominations 1 percent; others 2 percent.

Data as of January 1993