We are more concentrated on the coast of the country and in urban areas, especially in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto. Despite this, in most municipalities in both, the weight of the resident population was, in 2021, higher than the number of classic family dwellings, according to data from the 2021 Census.
O study “What the 2021 Censuses tell us about territorial dynamics” was presented this Wednesday at the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in Lisbon, and shows that there has been a strengthening of coastalization in the last two decades. On the other hand, the interior of the country is less populated, with 56% of the territory being vacated.
“In most municipalities in the metropolitan areas of Porto and Lisbon, the weight of the resident population was greater than that of classic family dwellings”, reads in the report. And, on this point, Sintra and Vila Nova de Gaia stand out, which record “a lesser adequacy of the potential availability of housing on offer to the resident population”.
The report also mentions that in the metropolitan areas, the exceptions are the municipalities of Lisbon and Sesimbra “where the weight of the resident population was lower than that of classic family dwellings”.
Classic family accommodation is understood to be accommodation that “is intended to accommodate only one family/domestic household”, “consisting of a division or set of divisions (…) in a permanent building (…)”. In Portugal there were 5,970,677 accommodations of this type in 2021, “distributed unevenly across the various regions”.
The report also refers to classic buildings, that is, “buildings whose structure and materials are not precarious”. There are about 3.5 million of these in the country.
It is in the North that the majority of dwellings (31.7%) and buildings of this type (34.4%) are located, followed by the Center with 24.6% and 31.3%, respectively. The Área Metropolitana de Lisboa stood out for “being the only region where the weight of classic buildings (12.7%) was less than about half of that registered by classic family dwellings (25.1%), indicating a predominance of high-rise construction”.
In 2021, in Portugal, 12.1% of classic family dwellings were vacant. After all, this corresponds to just over 722,000 accommodations. The regions of Alentejo and Autónoma da Madeira registered the most vacant accommodation of this type.
As for the conditions, 1.4% of classic family dwellings of usual residence “are part of classic buildings in need of deep repair”.
Population concentrated on the coast
With regard to territorial dynamics, there is a phenomenon of littoralization, that is, the population is concentrated more in coastal areas. The imbalance in population distribution is based on a concentration in a strip between Viana do Castelo and Setúbal and on the Algarve coastline.
As Francisco Vala, from the office for coordinating territorial statistics at INE, explained during the presentation “the interior territory is largely unpopulated, and in Alentejo there are vast unpopulated areas”. If in the total territory the percentage of uninhabited areas is 56%, in Alentejo this figure rises to 76% at regional level.
With a “great disparity in the form of occupation of the territory”, the researcher also said, the interior of the continent and the coastal strip of Alentejo are the regions that had the lowest population densities.
In 2021, the resident population in Portugal was 10,343,066 inhabitants, a decrease, as already announced, of 2.07%, a percentage that corresponds to around 219 thousand fewer people.
The five municipalities with the highest population densities in 2021 were Amadora, followed by Porto, Odivelas, Lisbon and Oeiras.
Of the 308 Portuguese municipalities, only 50 have seen their population grow in ten years, which are mostly located in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (14 out of a total of 18 municipalities) and in the Algarve (11 out of 16). With population increases of more than 5%, Mafra, Palmela, Alcochete, Montijo, Sesimbra and Seixal stand out.
On the opposite side, Barrancos, Tabuaço, Torre de Moncorvo and Nisa were the municipalities that most reduced their population. It should be noted that Lisbon and Porto also recorded population declines: -1.25% and -2.44% respectively.