Southern European state. In the last quarter of the 20th century. and in the early 21° Portugal has experienced a period of great transformations due to the collapse of the authoritarian regime, which lasted for about forty years, and the contextual abandonment of the African colonies, as well as the entry into the European Economic Community (later the European Union) and, subsequently, in the Economic and Monetary Union. Considered, with Greece, the ‘tail-end’ among the EU countries for the entire last fifteen years of the twentieth century, and above all the more typically ‘peripheral’ country, the Portugal few difficulties. In many respects it remains an anomalous country, in which the undeniable ‘Europeanity’ (belonging to the Iberian Peninsula, Latin and Christian cultural heritage) meets, and in some cases clashes, with other aspects, geographical and historical, which have made it a European outpost on the Atlantic, a country for centuries mainly interested in ocean control and transoceanic expansion. Adherence to European integration, while not completely erasing this ancient vocation, led Fr. to modify his network of relations by strengthening traditional ties with some European states, in particular those with Great Britain, which had been the main one for centuries. commercial partner and political ally, but also those, especially cultural ones, with France and, in part, with the Germany; it has also paved the way for relations with Spain, the country from which, albeit close, it is separated by a border which is not very permeable.
The population, of 9,853,100 units according to the 1991 census, had risen to 10,356,117 at the next (2001), with an absolute increase of over 500,000 units and an annual average of 0.5 %; an increase that was not uniform over the decade, but marked by a marked decrease (up to zero growth) in the first half and a subsequent recovery. According to an estimate, the residents in 2005 had risen further to just under 10,500,000, with an average annual increase slightly lower than the previous one.
This population, which due to the net decrease in fertility and the significant lengthening of the average life span has entered a phase of aging, is distributed unevenly, with a density of 114 residents / km 2 and strong differences between the internal areas, still partly linked to agro-pastoral activities, and those close to the coast and the major cities: in fact, the Portugal was affected as much as the other European countries by rural depopulation and, at the same time, by urbanization processes. Until the end of 20° sec. 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 since the early years of the new century (55 % in 2003) are clearly lower than those of other European countries.
The Portugal has two metropolises: the capital, Lisbon, which counted 564,657 residents to the census survey in 2001 (but in 2006, according to an estimate, over 800,000 and 2,900,000 in the entire urban agglomeration), and Porto (265,000 and 1,375,000 respectively). The capital therefore hosts the 27% of the total population, as also happens, for example, in Greece (‘a big head on a small body’, has been said with a picturesque expression). 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 any country is completely missing. Lisbon has expanded over a vast area in a rather disordered way, without guidelines fixed through regulatory plans, but without compromising those original aspects that give it a particular charm and, at the same time, stimulate the interest of many tourists. The fact of having been chosen as the seat of the Universal Exhibition of 1998 provided an opportunity to reorganize a large degraded area along the Tagus. For Portugal 2012, please check oxfordastronomy.com.
In 2005 the global gross domestic product Portugal exceeded 170 billion dollars and the per capita the 17,000 dollars. The percentage contribution to the formation of GDP by the three sectors was as follows: primary, 2.8 ; secondary, 24.5 ; tertiary sector, 72.6. After its accession to the European Community, the Portuguese economy has shown a certain dynamism, even in the presence of considerable delays. The primary sector has struggled to modernize and remains very scarcely competitive, except for the wine sector; some resources, such as cork, of which Portugal was a major producer, have lost relevance; an activity such as the extraction of sea salt has completely ceased. The secondary sector has lost ground for some sectors, such as construction and textiles, but has progressed in others, in particular the automotive sector which, also due to appropriate relocation processes and with the investment of German capital, has seen the rise of new large lifts in Setúbal. Among the tertiary activities, in sharp growth both for employees and for contribution to GDP, tourism stands out: the cultural one, polarized to a large extent on Lisbon, and the seaside tourism which has ‘colonized’ the Algarve coast, not without environmental damage. The most numerous visitors are Spaniards.