There were fewer Portuguese emigrants in 2016 than in 2012

  • ECO News
  • 18 December 2017

There hadn't been this few Portuguese emigrants since 2012. In spite of the decrease, "it will be a while before we go back to pre-crisis levels", the Emigration Observatory stated.

The number of Portuguese citizens who decided to leave Portugal has been decreasing over the past two years. In 2016, it reached the lowest number since 2012, the Emigration Observatory discloses.

In 2012, there were 105 thousand Portuguese citizens that decided to leave Portugal, searching for a new place to call “home”. In 2013, that number increased to 120 thousand. The trend started reversing in 2014, with 115 thousand Portuguese citizens packing up their bags to leave and, in 2015, that number decreased once again, to 110 thousand. In 2016, there is a new record: only 100 thousand people said goodbye to Portuguese lands.

Even so, “it will be a while before we go back to pre-crisis levels”, stated Rui Pena Pires, in charge of the Emigration Observatory, to Público. “The only thing that could accelerate the decrease of this phenomena would be a crisis in destination countries”, he predicts. Rui Pena Pires believes this would happen because “when emigration grows more, at a certain point, it becomes less sensitive to economic incentives” and, according to the investigator, the economic expansion of the country “is not yet very strong”.

The United Kingdom, France and Switzerland remain the favorite emigration destinations for the Portuguese. In 2016, Theresa May’s “kingdom” received exactly 30,543 citizens coming from Portugal, a 5.4% decrease in comparison to 2015. On that same year, Switzerland was the choice of 10,123 individuals, 17.9% less than in the previous year. Among the three main destinations, only France received slightly more emigrants in 2016: 18,480, a 0.6% increase. Ireland had the largest increase, of 38.4%, which translated to a total of only 426 Portuguese.