Portugal is located on the south western edge of Europe. The population is currently 10.6 million, of which 2.8 million live in the greater Lisbon area. The population is expected to reach 10.8 million by 2030, while the proportion of people over 65 is expected to increase from 27% to 38% over the same period. The official language is Portuguese and the Catholic religion is dominant. The Euro is the official currency. The standard rate of VAT is 23%.

 Portugal                             Capital: Lisbon



10.6 million à 10.8 million (2030)

Proportion of people over 65 is 27% à 38% (2030)





GDP / head

€ 16,100   (EU average: € 25,100)





GDP growth (volume)



-3.3% in 2012 (f)

1.1% in 2013 (f)

Unemployment rate

(Feb 2012)

15.0%   (EU average: 10.2%)

Inflation rate

3.6%   (EU average: 3.1%)


Figures relate to 2011, except where indicated.                                      Source: Eurostat, Searce (2012)


Portugal has a GDP per capita of €16,200, compared to the EU average of €24,400 in 2010. According to the OECD, the Portuguese economy shrank by 1.6% in 2011, and is expected to decrease by 3.2% in 2012 but will grow by 0.5% in 2013 (compared to the Eurozone average growth of 1.6%, 0.2% and 1.4% respectively). The inflation rate was 3.5% in 2011, compared to 3% in the EU. The unemployment rate was 13.2%, compared to 9.8% in the EU as a whole in 2011.

Portuguese society is traditional and conservative, which translates into formal business meetings. Family is very important and family connections are evident in many businesses. Society is hierarchical and business operates in a similar way. Good appearance is also highly regarded. Portuguese prefer to do business with people they know so it is important to invest time to develop relationships. Face to face meetings are also preferred to other types of communication.