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indicator value unit
Population 10.7 mil.
Visitors per year 7.7 mil.
Renewable energy 21.2 %

How’s Life?

Portugal performs well in only few measures of well-being relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index. Portugal ranks above the average in housing, but below average in income and wealth, health status, social connections, civic engagement, education and skills, subjective well-being, and jobs and earnings.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Portugal, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is USD 20 086 a year, less than the OECD average of USD 25 908 a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn nearly six times as much as the bottom 20%.

In terms of employment, around 61% of people aged 15 to 64 in Portugal have a paid job, lower than the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 63% of men are in paid work, compared with 58% of women.  In Portugal, around 10% of employees work very long hours, less than the OECD average of 13%, with 13% of men working very long hours compared with just 6% for women.

Good education and skills are important requisites for finding a job. In Portugal, 38% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education, much lower than the OECD average of 75% and one of the lowest rates among OECD countries. This is truer of women than men, as 34% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 41% of women. In terms of the quality of the educational system, the average student scored 488 in reading literacy, maths and science in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This score is slightly lower than the OECD average of 497. On average in Portugal, girls outperformed boys by 10 points, more than the average OECD gap of 8 points.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Portugal is almost 81 years, one year above the OECD average. Life expectancy for women is 84 years, compared with 77 for men. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 18.1 micrograms per cubic meter in large urban areas, lower than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Portugal does well in terms of water quality, as 86% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, above the OECD average of 81%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and level of civic participation in Portugal, where 86% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, less than the OECD average of 88%. Voter turnout, a measure of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 58% during recent elections; lower than the OECD average of 68%. Social and economic status can affect voting rates; voter turnout for the top 20% of the population is an estimated 63% and for the bottom 20% it is an estimated 56%. This difference is lower than the OECD average difference of 13 percentage points.

In general, the Portuguese are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Portuguese people gave it a 5.1 grade, one of the lowest scores in the OECD, where average life satisfaction is 6.6.

For more information on estimates and years of reference, see FAQ section and BLI database.

Topics

OECD in Action

OECD Economic Surveys Portugal 2014

OECD's 2014 Economic Survey of Portugal examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. Special chapters cover boosting export performance and reducing inequality and poverty.

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Portugal in Detail