According to the 2011 Census, 88.0% of the Portuguese population are Roman Catholic. The country has small Protestant, Latter-day Saint, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Eastern Orthodox Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baha'i, Buddhist, Jewish and Spiritist communities. Influences from African Traditional Religion and Chinese Traditional Religion are also felt among many people, particularly in fields related with Traditional Chinese Medicine and African Witch Doctors. Some 6.8% of the population declared themselves to be non-religious, and 8.3% did not give any answer about their religion.
In 2012, a study conducted by the Catholic University revealed 79.5% of the Portuguese considered themselves Catholics, and that 18% attended Mass regularly. These figures represent a drop from 86.9% of Catholics in 2001, while during the same period the number of people stating that they had no religion rose from 8.2% to 14.2%.
Many Portuguese holidays, festivals and traditions have a Christian origin or connotation. Although relations between the Portuguese state and the Roman Catholic Church were generally amiable and stable since the earliest years of the Portuguese nation, their relative power fluctuated. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the church enjoyed both riches and power stemming from its role in the reconquest, its close identification with early Portuguese nationalism and the foundation of the Portuguese educational system, including the first university.
The growth of the Portuguese overseas empire made its missionaries important agents of colonization, with important roles in the education and evangelization of people from all the inhabited continents. The growth of liberal and nascent republican movements during the eras leading to the formation of the First Portuguese Republic (1910–26) changed the role and importance of organized religion.
Portugal is a secular state: church and state were formally separated during the Portuguese First Republic, and later reiterated in the 1976 Portuguese Constitution. Other than the Constitution, the two most important documents relating to religious freedom in Portugal are the 1940 Concordata (later amended in 1971) between Portugal and the Holy See and the 2001 Religious Freedom Act.
Portuguese is the official language of Portugal. Portuguese is a Romance language that originated in what is now Galicia and Northern Portugal, originating from Galician-Portuguese, which was the common language of the Galician and Portuguese people until the formation of Portugal. Particularly in the North of Portugal, there are still many similarities between the Galician culture and the Portuguese culture. Galicia is a consultative observer of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. According to the Ethnologue of Languages, Portuguese and Spanish have a lexical similarity of 89% – educated speakers of each language can communicate with one another.
The Portuguese language is derived from the Latin spoken by the romanized Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula around 2000 years ago—particularly the Celts, Tartessians, Lusitanians and Iberians. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the language spread worldwide as Portugal established a colonial and commercial empire between 1415 and 1999. Portuguese is spoken as a native language in five different continents, with Brazil accounting for the largest number of native Portuguese speakers of any country (209,5 million speakers in 2016).,
In 2013 the Portuguese language is the official language spoken in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and East Timor. These countries, plus Macau Special Administrative Region (People's Republic of China) where Portuguese is co-official with Cantonese, make up the Lusosphere, a term derived from the ancient Roman province of "Lusitania", which currently matches the Portuguese territory south of the Douro river.
Mirandese is also recognized as a co-official regional language in some municipalities of North-Eastern Portugal. An estimate of between 6,000 and 7,000 Mirandese speakers has been documented for Portugal.
According to International English Proficiency Index, Portugal has a high proficiency level in English, higher than in neighbouring countries like Italy, France or Spain.
The educational system is divided into preschool (for those under age 6), basic education (9 years, in three stages, compulsory), secondary education (3 years, compulsory since 2010), and higher education (subdivided in university and polytechnic education). Universities are usually organized into faculties. Institutes and schools are also common designations for autonomous subdivisions of Portuguese higher education institutions.
The total adult literacy rate is 99 percent. Portuguese primary school enrollments are 100 percent.
According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, the average Portuguese 15-year-old student, when rated in terms of reading literacy, mathematics and science knowledge, is placed significantly above the OECD's average, at a similar level as those students from Norway, Poland, Denmark and Belgium, with 501 points (493 is the average). The PISA results of the Portuguese students have been continuously improving, overcoming a number of other highly developed western countries like the USA, Austria, France and Sweden.
About 40% of college-age citizens (20 years old) attend one of Portugal's higher education institutions (compared with 50% in the United States and 35% in the OECD countries). In addition to being a destination for international students, Portugal is also among the top places of origin for international students. All higher education students, both domestic and international, totaled 380,937 in 2005.
Portuguese universities have existed since 1290. The oldest Portuguese university was first established in Lisbon before moving to Coimbra. Historically, within the scope of the Portuguese Empire, the Portuguese founded the oldest engineering school of the Americas (the Real Academia de Artilharia, Fortificação e Desenho of Rio de Janeiro) in 1792, as well as the oldest medical college in Asia (the Escola Médico-Cirúrgica of Goa) in 1842. Presently, the largest university in Portugal is the University of Lisbon.
The Bologna process has been adopted, since 2006, by Portuguese universities and poly-technical institutes. Higher education in state-run educational establishments is provided on a competitive basis, a system of numerus clausus is enforced through a national database on student admissions. However, every higher education institution offers also a number of additional vacant places through other extraordinary admission processes for sportsmen, mature applicants (over 23 years old), international students, foreign students from the Lusosphere, degree owners from other institutions, students from other institutions (academic transfer), former students (readmission), and course change, which are subject to specific standards and regulations set by each institution or course department.
Most student costs are supported with public money. However, with the increasing tuition fees a student has to pay to attend a Portuguese state-run higher education institution and the attraction of new types of students (many as part-time students or in evening classes) like employees, businessmen, parents, and pensioners, many departments make a substantial profit from every additional student enrolled in courses, with benefits for the college or university's gross tuition revenue and without loss of educational quality (teacher per student, computer per student, classroom size per student, etc.).
Portugal has entered into cooperation agreements with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other US institutions to further develop and increase the effectiveness of Portuguese higher education and research.
According to the latest Human Development Report, the average life expectancy in 2015 was 81.3 years.
Portugal ranks 12th in the best public health systems in the world, ahead of high developed countries like the United Kingdom, Germany or Sweden.
The Portuguese health system is characterized by three coexisting systems: the National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS), special social health insurance schemes for certain professions (health subsystems) and voluntary private health insurance. The SNS provides universal coverage. In addition, about 25% of the population is covered by the health subsystems, 10% by private insurance schemes and another 7% by mutual funds.
The Ministry of Health is responsible for developing health policy as well as managing the SNS. Five regional health administrations are in charge of implementing the national health policy objectives, developing guidelines and protocols and supervising health care delivery. Decentralization efforts have aimed at shifting financial and management responsibility to the regional level. In practice, however, the autonomy of regional health administrations over budget setting and spending has been limited to primary care.
The SNS is predominantly funded through general taxation. Employer (including the state) and employee contributions represent the main funding sources of the health subsystems. In addition, direct payments by the patient and voluntary health insurance premiums account for a large proportion of funding.
Similar to the other Eur-A countries, most Portuguese die from noncommunicable diseases. Mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is higher than in the eurozone, but its two main components, ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, display inverse trends compared with the Eur-A, with cerebrovascular disease being the single biggest killer in Portugal (17%). Portuguese people die 12% less often from cancer than in the Eur-A, but mortality is not declining as rapidly as in the Eur-A. Cancer is more frequent among children as well as among women younger than 44 years. Although lung cancer (slowly increasing among women) and breast cancer (decreasing rapidly) are scarcer, cancer of the cervix and the prostate are more frequent. Portugal has the highest mortality rate for diabetes in the Eur-A, with a sharp increase since the 1980s.
Portugal's infant mortality rate has dropped sharply since the late 1970s, when 24 of 1000 newborns died in the first year of life. It is now around 2 deaths per a 1000 newborns. This improvement was mainly due to the decrease in neonatal mortality, from 15.5 to 2.4 per 1000 live births.
People are usually well informed about their health status, the positive and negative effects of their behaviour on their health and their use of health care services. Yet their perceptions of their health can differ from what administrative and examination-based data show about levels of illness within populations. Thus, survey results based on self-reporting at the household level complement other data on health status and the use of services.
Only one third of adults rated their health as good or very good in Portugal (Kasmel et al., 2004). This is the lowest of the Eur-A countries reporting and reflects the relatively adverse situation of the country in terms of mortality and selected morbidity.
Portugal has developed a specific culture while being influenced by various civilizations that have crossed the Mediterranean and the European continent, or were introduced when it played an active role during the Age of Discovery. In the 1990s and 2000s (decade), Portugal modernized its public cultural facilities, in addition to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation established in 1956 in Lisbon.
These include the Belém Cultural Centre in Lisbon, Serralves Foundation and the Casa da Música, both in Porto, as well as new public cultural facilities like municipal libraries and concert halls that were built or renovated in many municipalities across the country. Portugal is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking it 8th in Europe and 17th in the world.
Traditional architecture is distinctive and include the Manueline, also known as Portuguese late Gothic, a sumptuous, composite Portuguese style of architectural ornamentation of the first decades of the 16th century. A 20th-century interpretation of traditional architecture, Soft Portuguese style, appears extensively in major cities, especially Lisbon. Modern Portugal has given the world renowned architects like Eduardo Souto de Moura, Álvaro Siza Vieira (both Pritzker Prize winners) and Gonçalo Byrne. In Portugal Tomás Taveira is also noteworthy, particularly for stadium design.
Portuguese cinema has a long tradition, reaching back to the birth of the medium in the late 19th century. Portuguese film directors such as Arthur Duarte, António Lopes Ribeiro, António Reis, Pedro Costa, Manoel de Oliveira, João César Monteiro, Edgar Pêra, António-Pedro Vasconcelos, Fernando Lopes, João Botelho and Leonel Vieira, are among those that gained notability. Noted Portuguese film actors include Joaquim de Almeida, Nuno Lopes, Daniela Ruah, Maria de Medeiros, Diogo Infante, Soraia Chaves, Ribeirinho, Lúcia Moniz, and Diogo Morgado.
Portuguese literature, one of the earliest Western literatures, developed through text as well as song. Until 1350, the Portuguese-Galician troubadours spread their literary influence to most of the Iberian Peninsula. Gil Vicente (c. 1465–c. 1536), was one of the founders of Portuguese dramatic traditions.
Adventurer and poet Luís de Camões (c. 1524–1580) wrote the epic poem "Os Lusíadas" (The Lusiads), with Virgil's Aeneid as his main influence. Modern Portuguese poetry is rooted in neoclassic and contemporary styles, as exemplified by Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935). Modern Portuguese literature is represented by authors such as Almeida Garrett, Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queiroz, Fernando Pessoa, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, António Lobo Antunes and Miguel Torga. Particularly popular and distinguished is José Saramago, recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Portuguese cuisine is diverse. The Portuguese consume a lot of dry cod (bacalhau in Portuguese), for which there are hundreds of recipes. There are more than enough bacalhau dishes for each day of the year. Two other popular fish recipes are grilled sardines and caldeirada, a potato-based stew that can be made from several types of fish. Typical Portuguese meat recipes made out of beef, pork, lamb, or chicken include cozido à portuguesa, feijoada, frango de churrasco, leitão (roast suckling pig) and carne de porco à alentejana. A very popular northern dish is the arroz de sarrabulho (rice stewed in pigs blood) or the arroz de cabidela (rice and chickens meat stewed in chickens blood).
Typical fast food dishes include the Francesinha (Frenchie) from Porto, and bifanas (grilled pork) or prego (grilled beef) sandwiches, which are well known around the country. The Portuguese art of pastry has its origins in the many medieval Catholic monasteries spread widely across the country. These monasteries, using very few ingredients (mostly almonds, flour, eggs and some liquor), managed to create a spectacular wide range of different pastries, of which pastéis de Belém (or pastéis de nata) originally from Lisbon, and ovos moles from Aveiro are examples. Portuguese cuisine is very diverse, with different regions having their own traditional dishes. The Portuguese have a culture of good food, and throughout the country there are myriads of good restaurants and typical small tasquinhas.
Portuguese wines have enjoyed international recognition since the times of the Romans, who associated Portugal with their god Bacchus. Today, the country is known by wine lovers and its wines have won several international prizes. Some of the best Portuguese wines are Vinho Verde, Vinho Alvarinho, Vinho do Douro, Vinho do Alentejo, Vinho do Dão, Vinho da Bairrada and the sweet Port Wine, Madeira Wine, and the Moscatel from Setúbal and Favaios. Port and Madeira are particularly appreciated in a wide range of places around the world.
Portuguese music encompasses a wide variety of genres. The most renowned is Fado, a melancholy urban music originated in Lisbon, usually associated with the Portuguese guitar and saudade, or longing. Coimbra fado, a unique type of "troubadour serenading" fado, is also noteworthy. Internationally notable performers include Amália Rodrigues, Carlos Paredes, José Afonso, Mariza, Carlos do Carmo, António Chainho, Mísia, and Madredeus.
In addition to Fado and Folk, the Portuguese listen to pop and other types of modern music, particularly from North America and the United Kingdom, as well as a wide range of Portuguese, Caribbean and Brazilian artists and bands. Artists with international recognition include Dulce Pontes, Moonspell, Buraka Som Sistema, Blasted Mechanism and The Gift, with the two latter being nominees for a MTV Europe Music Award. In the last decade, of 2010, the most internationally and nationally recognized artists include Aurea, AGIR, David Carreira, Richie Campbell, D.A.M.A and Diogo Piçarra.
Portugal has several summer music festivals, such as Festival Sudoeste in Zambujeira do Mar, Festival de Paredes de Coura in Paredes de Coura, Festival Vilar de Mouros near Caminha, Boom Festival in Idanha-a-Nova Municipality, NOS Alive, Sumol Summer Fest in Ericeira, Rock in Rio Lisboa and Super Bock Super Rock in Greater Lisbon. Out of the summer season, Portugal has a large number of festivals, designed more to an urban audience, like Flowfest or Hip Hop Porto. Furthermore, one of the largest international Goa trance festivals takes place in central Portugal every two years, the Boom Festival, that is also the only festival in Portugal to win international awards: European Festival Award 2010 – Green'n'Clean Festival of the Year and the Greener Festival Award Outstanding 2008 and 2010. There is also the student festivals of Queima das Fitas are major events in a number of cities across Portugal. In 2005, Portugal held the MTV Europe Music Awards, in Pavilhão Atlântico, Lisbon. Furthermore, Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kiev with the song "Amar pelos dois" presented by Salvador Sobral.
In the classical music domain, Portugal is represented by names as the pianists Artur Pizarro, Maria João Pires, Sequeira Costa, the violinists Carlos Damas, Gerardo Ribeiro and in the past by the great cellist Guilhermina Suggia. Notable composers include José Vianna da Motta, Carlos Seixas, João Domingos Bomtempo, João de Sousa Carvalho, Luís de Freitas Branco and his student Joly Braga Santos, Fernando Lopes-Graça, Emmanuel Nunes and Sérgio Azevedo. Similarly, contemporary composers such as Nuno Malo and Miguel d'Oliveira have achieved some international success writing original music for film and television.
Portugal has a rich history in painting. The first well-known painters date back to the 15th century – like Nuno Gonçalves – were part of the Gothic painting period. José Malhoa, known for his work Fado, and Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro (who painted the portraits of Teófilo Braga and Antero de Quental) were both references in naturalist painting.
The 20th century saw the arrival of Modernism, and along with it came the most prominent Portuguese painters: Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, who was heavily influenced by French painters, particularly the Delaunays (Robert and Sonia). Among his best-known works is Canção Popular a Russa e o Fígaro. Another great modernist painters/writers were Carlos Botelho and Almada Negreiros, friend to the poet Fernando Pessoa, who painted his (Pessoa's) portrait. He was deeply influenced by both Cubist and Futurist trends.
Prominent international figures in visual arts nowadays include painters Vieira da Silva, Júlio Pomar, Helena Almeida, Joana Vasconcelos, Julião Sarmento and Paula Rego.
Football is the most popular sport in Portugal. There are several football competitions ranging from local amateur to world-class professional level. The legendary Eusébio is still a major symbol of Portuguese football history. FIFA World Player of the Year winners Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the FIFA Ballon d'Or, are two world-class Portuguese football players. Portuguese football managers are also noteworthy, with José Mourinho and Fernando Santos being among the most renowned.
The Portugal national football team – Seleção Nacional – have won one UEFA European Championship title: the UEFA Euro 2016, with a 1–0 victory in the final over France, the tournament hosts. In addition, Portugal finished second in the Euro 2004 (held in Portugal), third in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, and fourth in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. At youth level, Portugal have won two FIFA World Youth Championships (in 1989 and 1991) and several UEFA European Youth Championships.
S.L. Benfica, Sporting CP and FC Porto are the largest sports clubs by popularity and by number of trophies won, often known as "os três grandes" ("the big three"). They have won eight titles in the European UEFA club competitions, were present in many finals and have been regular contenders in the last stages almost every season. Other than football, many Portuguese sports clubs, including the "big three", compete in several other sports events with a varying level of success and popularity, these may include roller hockey, basketball, futsal, handball, and volleyball. The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) – Federação Portuguesa de Futebol – annually hosts the Algarve Cup, a prestigious women`s football tournament that has been celebrated in the Algarvian part of Portugal.
The Portuguese national rugby union team qualified for the 2007 Rugby World Cup and the Portuguese national rugby sevens team has played in the World Rugby Sevens Series.
In athletics, the Portuguese have won a number of gold, silver and bronze medals in the European, World and Olympic Games competitions. Cycling, with Volta a Portugal being the most important race, is also a popular sports event and include professional cycling teams such as Sporting CP, Boavista, Clube de Ciclismo de Tavira and União Ciclista da Maia.
The country has also achieved notable performances in sports like fencing, judo, kitesurf, rowing, sailing, surfing, shooting, taekwondo, triathlon and windsurf, owning several European and world titles. The paralympic athletes have also conquered many medals in sports like swimming, boccia, athletics and wrestling.
In motorsport, Portugal is internationally noted for the Rally of Portugal, and the Estoril, Algarve Circuits and the revived Porto Street Circuit which holds a stage of the WTCC every two years, as well as for a number of internationally noted pilots in varied motorsports.
In equestrian sports, Portugal won the only Horseball-Pato World Championship (in 2006), achieved the third position in the First Horseball World Cup (organized in Ponte de Lima, Portugal, in 2008), and has achieved several victories in the European Working Equitation Championship.
In water sports, Portugal has two major sports: swimming and water polo. Northern Portugal has its own original martial art, Jogo do Pau, in which the fighters use staffs to confront one or several opponents. Other popular sport-related recreational outdoor activities with thousands of enthusiasts nationwide include airsoft, fishing, golf, hiking, hunting and orienteering.
Portugal is one of the world's best golf destinations. It has received several awards by the World Golf Awards. Its weather allows play all year round.