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Population: 10,8 million

Compared to other European countries, its fertility rate is one of the lowest. Besides, the population is aging and as a consequence, the population renewal is a challenge for this country.  Moreover, since the middle of the 20th century, Portugal has been facing an important emigration rate especially bound for USA, Brazil, Argentina or France.

The population is mainly located along or near the Atlantic coast and the urbanization rate is 63%.

Life expectancy is 79,3 and the average age of the population is 41,8.

26,70% of the population is under 25 years old and 19,4% is above 65.

Climate: The territory benefits from a Mediterranean climate, thus summers are hot and dry whereas winters are clement. Even during the coldest months and at a high altitude, temperatures do not go below 0°C.

Spoken languages and religion: Two languages are officials in Portugal, but only Portuguese is really used. The other language, Mirandese, is just locally used especially in the Mirando do Douro region. With 240 million people speaking Portuguese, it is the fourth worldwide language the most spoken and the third European language.

Since the first Portuguese Republic (1910-1926), State and Church are separated and the Constitution of 1976 reinstates this principle. However, Catholicism is the main religion (80%) and other religions have a marginal role. But, as in most European countries, less and less Portuguese are regular churchgoers. If church’s importance decreases, there are South-North disparities: the South is more dechristianized while the North is attached to religion.

Non-working days and holidays: Public holidays are based on the Catholic calendar, there are 13 public holidays, especially April 25th and June 10th which are National Days and October 5th as Republic Day.

Moreover, we can note two particularities: there is 1 public holiday which is different from one city to another and during Mardi Gras Day, almost everything is closed, only touristic places are opened. Generally, the working time is 40h/week with 22 days of annual paid leave.


Health Sector: According to WHO, with 4,43 physicians for 1 000 inhabitants, the Portuguese healthcare system is ranked twelfth in the world. It is a dual system shared between public and private healthcare. The public system is managed by the SNS – Serviço Nacional de Saude – every citizen is reported to a health center where it is not possible to choose the general practitioner.

Before seeing a specialist every patient must go to this center. Portuguese benefit from good healthcare quality (modern and equipped hospitals) and an important part of medical costs is paid by SNS, except a little copayment. However, waiting time and dental/optical repayment are the two negative points. In the private system, there is not intervention of the social security system, every patient pays for medical costs out of his pocket. On account of high costs, a private insurance is necessary.


  • National Doctors :

The first step to become a doctor in Portugal is to obtain the “licenciatura em medicina”, it is a 6 year bachelor degree program. Then, student must complete a “Internato Médico” or a Medical Residency to learn a specialization. At the end, an application to the ACSS – Administraçao Central do Sistema de Saude must be submitted.

At the end of these years of study, the last step is the registration to the medical board. The doctor must enroll in the Medical board of the region where he/she will practice.

  • Foreign Doctors :

To practice in Portugal, foreign doctors must obtain an approval of their diploma. There are 2 different procedures to obtain the approval of a foreign diploma:

  • The recognition for EU/EEE or Switzerland graduates and for Brazilian doctors according to a bilateral agreement. It is an automatic recognition.
  • An equivalence certified by a Portuguese university for non-EU medical or non-Brazilian doctors.

At the end of the procedure, the last step is the registration to the medical board. The doctor must enroll in the Medical board of the region where he/she will practice

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