Portugal - Demographics


The Instituto Nacional de Estatística (Portuguese: National Institute of Statistics) estimates that, according to the 2011 census, the population was 10,562,178 (of which 52% was female, 48% was male). This population has been relatively homogeneous for most of its history: a single religion (Catholicism) and a single language have contributed to this ethnic and national unity, namely after the expulsion of the Moors, Moriscos and Sephardi Jews.

Native Portuguese are an Iberian ethnic group, whose ancestry is very similar to other Western and Southern Europeans and Mediterranean peoples, in particular Spaniards, with whom they share a common ancestry, history and cultural proximity.

The most important demographic influence in the modern Portuguese seems to be the oldest one; current interpretation of Y-chromosome and mtDNA data suggests that the Portuguese have their origin in Paleolithic peoples that began arriving to the European continent around 45,000 years ago. All subsequent migrations did leave an impact, genetically and culturally, but the main population source of the Portuguese is still Paleolithic. Studies of mitochondrial DNA suggest that 7% and 5–9% of modern Portuguese have some North- and Subsaharan-African ancestry, respectively.

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