The population and housing census is the most important statistical operation of the National Statistics Institute (INE). All the inhabitants of the country participate in the census because it is essential for population estimates and projections at the level of nation, region, and commune. The census provides fundamental information for creating public policies and for decision-making in the public and private sectors.
The most recent population and housing census was conducted in 2017. Its results indicate that the population actually counted was 17,574,003 persons. Of these, 8,601,989 (49.8%) were male and 8,972,014 (51.1%) were female. The number of dwellings was 6,499,355, of which 6,486,533 (99.8%) were private dwellings and 12,822 (0.2%) were collective dwellings.
Census data shows that between 2002 and 2017 the average annual growth rate of the population was 1.0.
Although the population has continued to grow, the rate of growth has slowed because the population is aging rapidly. In the 1992 Census, 6.6% of persons were 65 years and over, but in the 2017 Census, 11.4% of the population belonged to this age bracket.
The total demographic dependency ratio represents the number of persons who are not of working age (i.e., from 0 to 14 years and 65 years and over) who are thus potentially dependent on those aged 15 to 64. The overall ratio has declined from previous measurements, but the elderly dependency ratio has increased. For every 100 persons of working age in 1992, there were 10 potentially dependent elderly persons, but this ratio climbed to 17/100 in 2017.
The ratio of elderly to minors (i.e., the number of people aged 65 and over for every 100 people aged 0 to 14) has also grown. There were 22.3 elderly for every 100 minors under 15 in 1992, while there were 56.8 elderly for every 100 minors under 15 in 2017.
The sex ratio (i.e., how many males there are for every 100 females) was 95.9.