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publicado em:  27 Junho 2012
Portugal among countries where people are considerably less satisfied with life

Only Hungary presents lower figures.

Presented in 2011, in How’s Life report, the new interactive and composite Index of well-being (Better Life Index) enables to measure and to compare the quality and way of life within populations. As The Human Development Index, BLI aims to assess the welfare of a society through other indicators than GDP only.
Better Life index, consists of 11 particular indicators, describes populations in terms of both: material living conditions (housing, income, jobs) and quality of life (community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance).

The ranking of countries in the 11 partial indicators of the Better Life Index does not follow a linear distribution. However, Portugal, together with Turkey, Mexico, Chile, Estonia and Hungary is a country where life is generally much less good than in the other countries. While OECD underlines the fact that the relevant progress in improving economy and living standards was made over the last years in Portugal, it also points out that the current crisis diminished its growth.

Such a low position of Portugal in rank of well-being is caused mainly by very low scores in such indicators as education, civic engagement, community, life satisfaction, income and jobs. The average income in OECD countries is 22 387 USD a year, while average person in Portugal earns much below that: 18 689 USD. In addition, the unemployment rate among Portuguese aged 15-24 is 22,3% which is significantly higher than OECD average (16,7%). Much higher than OECD average is also a long – term unemployment rate (5,6% for Portugal, 3,0% OECD) which can highly influence perception of well – being. Employment of people aged 15 to 64 is in a line with OECD average of 66%.

Definitely such a bad position of Portugal in general rank is due to its very bad scores in education. Only 30% of people aged 25-64 have a high-school degree, which is the lowest among all OECD countries and it is far below the average of countries composing this organization (74%). However the expected number of years of education is 18 for Portugal, which is one year more than OECD average. It is a good prognosis for the future improvement.

Average general satisfaction with life in Portugal, is 5,2, in 0 to 10 scale. The OECD average is 6,7. Taking into consideration all 36 studied countries, Portuguese people, besides Hungarians are less satisfied with life.

A strong social network and lack of isolation can provide both: psychological and material help during the time of crisis and influence positively satisfaction from life. However Portuguese people spend less time volunteering (2 minutes per week), and they are less willing to help the stranger (38 % of population) than the averages for OECD ( adequately: 4 minutes per day, 47% of general OECD population). Portuguese also less likely admit to know someone to rely on in the time of need.

On the other hand Portugal performs quite high in such categories as environment and work – life balance. Portuguese employee works less hours a year (1714) than the average for OECD (1749). There are also less employees working very long hours. That results in having more time for leisure, personal care and growth (Portugal is among 10 for 36 investigated countries which citizens spend the biggest amount of time on leisure and personal care).