Póvoa de Varzim is an Atlantic city historically connected with the world by sea, and with Europe by the Route of Santiago de Compostela. A European Cultural Itinerary since 1987, the different paths of the Route of Santiago de Compostela have lead pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, since the 9th century. In the parish of Rates, in the centre of Póvoa de Varzim, the two well-known Portuguese routes cross: the Portuguese Way of Santiago, through the interior, and the Portuguese Way of the Coast.
Located in the most populated region of Portugal, the North, 62,350 inhabitants lived in Póvoa de Varzim in 2017, according to estimates by the National Institute of Statistics. This is equivalent to 3.7% of the population of the Metropolitan Area of Porto, which has approximately 1,720,000 inhabitants, distributed over 17 municipalities. In addition, the Metropolitan Area attracts 3,100,000 tourists each year, which is one of its major economic strengths.
In view of a national scenario of ageing of the population, manifested in the rates of old age dependency1 and ageing2, Póvoa de Varzim is a municipality with one of the lowest average ages. In 2017, it reflects a good capacity to rejuvenate its working population3 (85.6), when compared to the Metropolitan Area of Porto (74.7), the North Portugal Region (79.0) and even the country (78.7).
Finally, due to its strategic location and the growth of opportunities offered by the municipality, there is a tendency to attract foreign citizens. 2429 immigrant citizens reside in the municipality, of whom the following stand out: 200 people from European countries not belonging to the European Union; 113 people of African nationality; 380 citizens from the American continent, 343 of whom are Brazilians; and 119 from the Asian continent (Data from the Social Development Plan 2015-20). This trend responds to the nation's efforts to attract foreign residents, as a way to combat ageing and the decline in population, and municipal authorities are required to pay attention to the development of policies and programmes for the integration into society in all its forms: employability, access to health, social and cultural integration.
1Elderly Dependence Index, ratio of elderly population to the working age population (2017): Póvoa (26); AMP (29.4); and Portugal (32.9).
2 Elderly Dependence Index, ratio of elderly population to the working age population (2001): Póvoa (91.1); AMP (107.9); and Portugal (127.8).
3 Renewal index of the working-age population: ratio of the population potentially entering and exiting the labour market).