Did you know?

indicator value unit
Population 10.6 mil.
Visitors per year 6.8 mil.
Renewable energy 21.22 %

How’s Life?

Portugal has made significant progress over the last few years in modernising its economy and improving the living standards of its citizens, however the global financial crisis has surely weakened its growth. Portugal performs in only overall few measures of well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks lower or close to the average in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.

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 18 806 USD a year, less than the OECD average of 23 938 USD 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 62% of people aged 15 to 64 in Portugal have a paid job, close to the OECD employment average of 65%. Some 65% of men are in paid work, compared with 59% of women. People in Portugal work 1 691 hours a year, slightly less than the OECD average of 1 765 hours. Another key measure, however, is how many people work very long hours. Around 9% of employees work very long hours, in line with the OECD average, with 13% of men working very long hours compared with just 6% for women.

Having a good education is an important requisite for finding a job. In Portugal, 35% of adults aged 25-64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school degree, much lower than the OECD average of 75% and one of the lowest rates amongst OECD countries. This is truer of women than men, as 32% of men have successfully completed high-school compared with 38% 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 78 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, lower than the OECD average of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter. Portugal does well in terms of water quality, as 87% of people say they are satisfied with the quality of their water, slightly more than the average OECD level of 84%.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a moderate sense of community and level of civic participation in Portugal, where 85% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in time of need, less than the OECD average of 89%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens’ participation in the political process, was 58% during recent elections; this figure is one of the lowest in the OECD where average participation is of 72%. 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 7 percentage point difference is lower than the OECD average difference of 11 percentage points and suggests there is broad social inclusion in Portugal’s democratic institutions.

In general, 67% of people in Portugal say they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.), below the OECD average of 76%.

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


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.

Read this report

Find Out More

Portugal in Detail