Definition of Youth

There is no clear definition of youth. However, the European Youth Card is available to all citizens between 12-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • 18
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • 18

  • Same-sex marriage legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Criminal Code of Portugal

Majority Age


Minors are also “emancipated” upon marriage, gaining the same capacity to exercise rights as a person of majority. Source: Civil Code (1966)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.55% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.63% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 78.03%Male %
  • 85.88% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Portugal created a Commission for Youth Policies to develop a national youth policy. A 2012 briefing exists.

The Youth Portal, launched in 2003, provides information on all matters related to youth, including education and training, international mobility programmes, sexual health and employment.   The drafting of the Portugal White Paper was launched in 2011. It aims to develop a national document setting out a comprehensive strategy in the field of youth. According to the 2012 briefing, it provides: "a unique opportunity for all youth associations and young people to contribute to the development of a Global Strategy and Plan of Action for Youth". However, the Commission for Youth Policies stresses the importance of mainstreaming existing programmes across ministries, and progress on the formulation of a national youth policy remains unclear.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Created in 2007 by Resolution No.77/2007, the Interministerial Commission for Youth Policies, ensures the coordination of the transversal measures targeting youth at the political level. The State Secretary of Sport and Youth is in charge of developing a governmental policy on matters related to youth, articulated through three different channels: Mobility programme, the European Youth Card, and the  Portuguese Institute for Youth and Sports (IPDJ), the national public  research institute directly involved in formulating and monitoring government youth policies.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council (CNJ) provides a national forum for members of Youth City Councils (CMJ) to discuss the situation of youth across the country. The CNJ also mediates with government institutions, either in an advisory role or representing young people in relevant forums, such as the National Education Council. The National Federation of Local Youth Associations (FNAJ) serves as an official network for local youth organisations to discuss and coordinate activities and is an official government partner in organising volunteering or other youth events.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
According to the report outlining planned activities for 2013, the government allocated a budget of EUR 65.9 million (USD 90.9 million) to the Portuguese Institute for Youth and Sport (IPDJ). However, it is unclear what proportion was allocated to youth affairs. The 2012 briefing notes that IPDJ expenditures are allocated on a regional level basis, and it should be noted that about 50% of the budget is directly allocated to regional expenditures. According to the World Bank, Portugal spent 10.96% of its government expenditure and 5.62% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

Other actors engaged in the youth field:

The Permanent Observatory of Youth (OPJ) is a program of research and studies at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon. OPJ aims at boosting the production, exchange and dissemination of scientific knowledge on the diversity of realities in the youth field in Portugal and in the world.

From the 2014 Youth Guarantee website. Original in Portuguese (translation by Google translate) :
The Youth Guarantee was introduced as part of the EC Recommendation for implementing concerted efforts to provide all young people under the age of 25 with either employment, further training, education within four months after becoming unemployed. It is transversal partnership, which includes the Secretary of State for Employment, the Ministry of Education and Secretary for Youth and Sports. The Youth Guarantee is aimed at young people between 15 and 29 years who are not integrated in any type of education or training or in the labor market.
Besides combating youth unemployment, the Portuguese Institute for Youth and Sport's  (IPDJ) 2013 activities plan (original Portuguese, own translation) aims to:
  • Continue the interventions in health promotion, contributing to the sexual education of young people , combating obesity and harmful consumption , preventing risk behaviours;
  • Value and recognize the skills acquired through non formal education and implementation of a National Training Plan that focuses its intervention on youth empowerment;
  • Promote social inclusion of young people and gender equality will be another area of ​​focus in 2013 ;
  • Promote citizenship and participation through the structures democratic power of organisations such as European Youth Parliament, Euro-scola programme.