Portuguese emigration after World War II — страница 6

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agriculture, 18 percent in construction, and 17 percent in small trades or catering. It is important to note that only 59 percent of returnees opted for an active life, and that the majority of those working in agriculture or small businesses were self employed. For the majority of these returning migrants, emigration was a success story. 19 A house, major appliances, a car, a small trade or restaurant, the opportunity for wives to stop working, the return to the region of departure, and a varying, but frequently reasonable, level of savings all guaranteed upward mobility. As far as the Portuguese economy is concerned, however, returnee contributions are debatable. The overwhelming majority of returnees either are illiterate (12 percent), have no formal schooling (24 percent), or

have attended only primary school (56 percent). New skills acquired have not been easily transferable; nor are former emigrants interested in taking up the same jobs they had abroad. They have used their savings primarily for consumption rather than productive investment. It is undeniable, however, that they have made a major contribution to regional development, and that with more adequate policies, their contribution could increase. We have described the main features of the Portuguese emigration and return migration. In the last part of this section, we will try to assess its impact on the Portuguese economy and demography. In demographic terms, the impact of emigration between 1960 and 1979, the heaviest period, represented 47 to 55 percent of the country’s natural

population growth. Yearly migration rates during that period varied from 5.3 to 6.1 migrants per thousand inhabitants, while the annual average number of departures was 82,419. In the same period, returns are estimated to have been between 30,000 and 37,000; Portugal’s annual natural population growth was 95,693. Thus, net migration can be estimated at between 45,400 and 52,400. Based on the 1970 census (total population 8.569 million), the yearly migration rate between 1960 and 1979 must have oscillated between 5.3 and 6.1 migrants per thousand. 20 For intercensus periods the numbers were as shown in table 10.5. It is important to remark that these figures do not account for total impact, because migration caused a significant part of the country’s demographic potential to

go unfulfilled. TABLE 10.5 Demographic Evolution, 1951-1981 (in thousands) Natural Growth Effective Growth Net Migration 1951-60 1,090.8 410.0 -680.8 1961-70 10,720.6 -282.6 -1,355.2 1971-81 838.7 1,284.1 +445.4 In economic terms, between 1973 and 1979, emigrant remittances represented 8.22 percent of the gross domestic product; between 1980 and 1989, the number rose to 10 percent. As a percentage of the GDP, remittances varied between 5.6 in 1975 and 12.1 in 1979, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estatística. Considering the relative weight of remittances in relation to the country’s exports, the figures are even more impressive. Remittances increased from 13 percent of the country’s exports in the 1950s to 25 percent in the 1960s and 56 percent in the 1970s. These

crude indicators illustrate the impact of Portuguese emigration on the country’s economy and demography, but they do not tell whether that impact was beneficial. The latest econometric simulations to measure the trade-off between emigration and remittances suggest that “past emigration had positive welfare effects, which means that the positive effects of remittances dominate the negative welfare effects of depopulation. However, the annual growth of domestic production has been slowed down by about half a percentage point.” 21 Changes in the 1970s With or without state permission, by the mid-1960s and early 1970s, the Portuguese were leaving the country in increasing numbers. Sociologists and historians working during those years stressed the duality of Portuguese society

and the imbalances of the country’s economic structure as the main factors driving a growing number of migrants out of the country. 22 Economists prefer to emphasize pull factors, and they name the wage differential between Portugal and the receiving countries as the main factor driving Portuguese emigration. 23 According to one recent study, changes in the productive structure in the 1960s created high natural rates of unemployment and chronic underemployment in the agricultural and family craft sectors, thereby giving a growing number of Portuguese men in their prime strong reasons to migrate to improve their lives. 24 The push-pull factors analyzed in these works were obviously important, but for the most part, they ignore the condition that if international labor flows are