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Around 12% of the people, between 16 and 74 years old, were first-generation immigrants or descendants of immigrants
Labour Force Survey ad hoc module
Labour market situation of migrants and their immediate descendants
Around 12% of the people, between 16 and 74 years old, were first-generation immigrants or descendants of immigrants - 2021
20 May 2022


In 2021, 12.4% of people living in Portugal, between 16 and 74 years old, had an immigrant background: 7.6% were first-generation immigrants and 4.8% were descendants of immigrants.

The composition of the first-generation immigrant population reflects the historical ties with other countries. Angola, France, Brazil, Mozambique, and Venezuela were the main countries of birth, and more than one-third were born in one of the Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP), and so the Portuguese was the mother tongue of most first-generation immigrants (70.4%). The relevance of past migratory flows is also noteworthy: approximately one-third came to Portugal more than 40 years ago. Concerning the second-generation immigrants, the vast majority had origins in the European Union (86.6%), because it was in the EU, mainly in Portugal, that at least one parent was born.

The immigrant population as a whole, including first and second-generation immigrants, was younger (49.3% were aged between 16 and 39 years old) and better educated (32.6% had tertiary education) than people without an immigrant background (33.8% and 23.8%, respectively), with a greater concentration in predominantly urban areas (79.7% compared to 72.8%).

In what concerns the situation in the labour market, the population between aged 25 and 64 with an immigrant background does not differ substantially from people without an immigrant background. However, the second-generation of immigrants, compared with the first-generation, showed a more unfavourable situation, with lower activity and employment rates, a higher unemployment rate and more fragile employment contracts.

Most of the resident population, regardless of their immigrant background, were satisfied with their job and did not feel discriminated at work. Nevertheless, around 10% indicated that they had had felt discriminated against in their job, being this proportion slightly higher for first-generation immigrants (11.3%). At last, 28.9% of first-generation immigrants indicated that their current job requires fewer skills than the one they had before coming to Portugal.

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