Progress and Social Development; Social Development Indicators

Progress and Social Development, Evolution in Portugal

We are going to analyze the evolution of Portugal's development with regard to the population's social progress. We use the OECD development indicators, compiled in the Better Life Index. These indicators assess material living conditions and quality of life, giving an idea of ​​the priorities that we need to improve with a view to progress and social development.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Measures of social progress and development

The purpose of the construction of these indicators by the OECD is to be able to have an analysis of human development that goes beyond the traditional measure, the Gross Domestic Product.

Everything is possible to measure, even what we find most difficult to quantify.

As Bertrand Russell said “although it may seem a paradox, all exact science is based on the idea of ​​approximation. If a man says he knows exactly one thing, then … you are talking to an inaccurate man.”

Therefore, finding meters for quality of life or social progress is not an exact science.

Development and social progress indicators

The OECD publishes this measure of well-being, the Better life Index, which brings together indicators of development and social progress for the countries that are part of it and also some that do not belong to the Organization, such as Brazil, Russia and South Africa .

Thus, consider 11 strands or "dimensions" that are included in this meter:

  • Housing: housing conditions and expenses (real estate prices)
  • Income: household income (after taxes and fees) and net financial wealth
  • Employment: salary, job security and unemployment
  • Community: quality of the social support network
  • Education: skills, knowledge, number of years of schooling
  • Environment: environmental quality (pollution levels, water quality)
  • Civic participation and governance: involvement in democracy
  • Health
  • Satisfaction with life: level of well-being
  • Personal security: homicide and assault rates
  • Work-life balance, personal and professional life

Comparison of social progress and development with the OECD average

Assessing development indicators, Portugal is below the OECD average in terms of health, community support structure, civic participation, number of years of education and qualification, school failure rate, level of satisfaction with life and employment and income from work.

On the positive side, Portugal has better indicators in the quality of basic housing facilities, students' skills, air pollution and water quality, as well as the feeling of personal security and homicide rate, work-life balance and life expectancy at home. birth.

Money alone does not bring happiness, but it helps to create better living conditions. Family-adjusted net disposable income is $21.203 per year (US$), lower than the OECD average of $33.604 (158%).

Regarding the relationship with the community, 88% of people in Portugal believe they know someone who can help them in time of need, in line with the OECD average of 89%.

Electoral turnout was 56%, below the OECD average of 68%.

In general, Portuguese people are not satisfied with their life, considering on a scale of 0 to 10 that they have a standard of living of 5,4, one of the lowest scores in the OECD, with an average of 6,5.

As for the employment rate, Portugal has 68% of people aged between 15 and 64 in paid employment, in line with the OECD average.

Tab 1. Social progress and development OECD average Portugal; Source OECD, 2019 data, collected in July 2021.
StrandIndicatorItemsPortugalTotal OECD
HomeHomes without basic facilities%14,4
HomeHouse expenses%2120
HomeRooms per personRatio1,71,8
PerformanceNet disposable income adjusted to householdsU.S. $2120333604
PerformanceHousehold net wealthU.S. $232666408376
Jobsinsecurity labor market%107
JobsEmployment tax%6868
Jobslong term unemployment rate%4,431,78
JobsAnnual salaryU.S. $2536743241
CommunityQuality of the support structure%8889
Educationschool success rate%4878
EducationStudent competencesAverage score497486
Educationyears of educationYears16,917,2
Environment Air pollutionµg / m31014
Environment Water quality%8681
Civic ParticipationCommitment of stakeholders to the development of regulationAverage score1,52,4
Civic ParticipationTurnout%5668
HealthLife expectancyYears81,280,2
Healthself-reported health%4869
Satisfactionlife satisfactionAverage score5,46,5
SecurityFeeling of security walking only at night%73,468,4
Securityhomicide rateRatio13,7
Family Work BalanceExcessive working hours%8,2711,01
Family Work BalanceLeisure time and personal careHours..14,98

As for education and qualification, we have a high school success rate of 48%, much lower than the OECD average of 78%.

Student competence is assessed in the fields of reading, mathematics and science by the OECD's International Student Assessment Program (PISA in English initials). Portugal's score is 497, higher than the OECD average of 486.

Regarding health in Portugal, life expectancy at birth is 81,2 years, higher than the OECD average of 80,2 years.

However, in response to the question “how is your health?”, 48% of Portuguese responded that their health was good, one of the lowest scores in OECD countries, with an average of 69%.

Comparison with 10 European countries

For a broader view, let us compare Portugal with Spain, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, Sweden, all belonging to the European Union and even the United Kingdom.

We can see that social progress in Portugal has the worst indicators in excess of working hours of 8,27% and satisfaction with life of 5,4 on a scale from 0 to 10 and in our assessment of health, 48%.

From the set of these development indicators, Sweden stands out positively, with 0% of houses without sanitary facilities, the highest employment rate of 77% and the best environmental quality, together with Finland.

Finland stands out for the feeling of quality in community support of 95%, in the competence of students with an average score of 523, with 19,8 years of education, the best feeling of personal security of 85,1%, but with the highest homicide rate of 1,3%.

Germany stands out with the highest family-adjusted disposable income of $34.294 and the highest school success rate of 87%.

The highest turnout rate is in Belgium, at 89% and with a number of rooms per person of 2,2.

Tab 2. Social Progress Indicators Portugal European Countries; OECD source, 2019 data, collected in July 2021
StrandIndicatorItemsPortugalSpain (España)GermanyBelgiumFranceItalyThe NetherlandsPolandFinlandSwedenUnited Kingdom
HomeHomes without basic facilities%10,10,21,90,50,70,130,500,3
HomeHouse expenses%2121202121231922231926
HomeRooms per personRatio1,71,91,82,21,81,41,91,11,91,71,9
PerformanceNet disposable income adjusted to householdsU.S. $2120323999342943036431304265882933319814299433128728715
PerformanceHousehold net wealthU.S. $232666373548259667386006280653279889157824210991200827..548392
Jobsinsecurity labor market%1023,12,73,77,612,34,85,73,93,24,5
JobsEmployment tax%6862756365587666707775
Jobslong term unemployment rate%4,437,661,573,5446,591,971,522,131,121,13
JobsAnnual salaryU.S. $2536738507475854967543755366585287727046429644239343732
CommunityQuality of the support structure%8893909190929186959194
Educationschool success rate%4859877778617892888381
EducationStudent competencesAverage score497491508503496485508504523496500
Educationyears of educationYears16,917,918,119,316,516,618,717,619,819,317,5
Environment Air pollutionµg / m310111415131814226611
Environment Water quality%8672918481719382959684
Civic ParticipationCommitment of stakeholders to the development of regulationAverage score1,51,81,822,12,52,62,62,223,1
Civic ParticipationTurnout%5670768975738255678669
HealthLife expectancyYears81,283,481,181,582,483,381,67881,582,481,2
Healthself-reported health%4872657466717658707569
Satisfactionlife satisfactionAverage score5,46,376,96,567,46,17,67,36,8
SecurityFeeling of security walking only at night%73,482,172,570,170,558,48267,385,175,677,7
Securityhomicide rateRatio10,60,510,50,60,60,71,30,90,2
Family Work BalanceExcessive working hours%8,274,014,264,757,674,110,425,953,811,0712,15
Family Work BalanceLeisure time and personal careHours..15,9315,6215,716,3616,47..14,4215,1715,1814,92

France with the fewest years of education, 16,5.

Italy, with the worst indicators in the employment rate of 58%, student competences with a score of 485 and a feeling of personal security of 58,4%.

Spain with the best life expectancy of 83,4 years and the worst in precariousness 23,1% and long-term unemployment 7,66%.

The Netherlands distinguishes itself in this group by referring health as being the best, with a percentage of 76%.

The UK has the worst indicator for excessive working hours, 12,15% and the highest percentage of household expenses at 26%.

Poland has the worst indicators with 3% of houses without basic sanitation facilities and a ratio of 1,1 people per room. Net disposable income of $19.814. Indicator of the quality of the community support structure of 86%, but showing the best school success rate of 92%. It has the worst environmental indicators as well as the lowest turnout of 55%. A life expectancy of 78 years and a sense of personal security of 67,3% are the lowest in this group.

Comparison of Portugal with the United States, Japan and Canada

Japan has the lowest rate of insecurity in the labor market at 1,4%, the highest employment rate at 75%, but despite this it has 6,4% of homes without basic sanitation facilities.

The United States has the highest household-adjusted disposable income at $45.284, but has the worst homicide rate of 5,5% and the highest excess working hours of 11,09%.

Canada leads the number of years of education of 17,3, environmental quality and a sense of personal security of 82,2.

Tab 3. Social progress indicators, comparison with non-European countries; OECD source, 2019 data, collected in July 2021
StrandIndicatorItemsPortugalCanadaUnited StatesJapan
HomeHomes without basic facilities%10,20,16,4
HomeHouse expenses%21221922
HomeRooms per personRatio1,72,62,41,9
PerformanceNet disposable income adjusted to householdsU.S. $21203308544528429798
PerformanceHousehold net wealthU.S. $232666423849632100305878
Jobsinsecurity labor market%1067,71,4
JobsEmployment tax%68737075
Jobslong term unemployment rate%4,430,770,661,03
JobsAnnual salaryU.S. $25367476226055840863
CommunityQuality of the support structure%88939189
Educationschool success rate%489191..
EducationStudent competencesAverage score497523488529
Educationyears of educationYears16,917,317,216,4
Environment Air pollutionµg / m31071014
Environment Water quality%86918387
Civic ParticipationCommitment of stakeholders to the development of regulationAverage score1,52,93,11,4
Civic ParticipationTurnout%56686553
HealthLife expectancyYears81,281,978,684,1
Healthself-reported health%48888836
Satisfactionlife satisfactionAverage score5,47,46,95,9
SecurityFeeling of security walking only at night%73,482,273,972,5
Securityhomicide rateRatio11,35,50,2
Family Work BalanceExcessive working hours%8,273,6911,09..
Family Work BalanceLeisure time and personal careHours..14,5614,44..

Portugal has, in this quartet, the highest rate of long-term unemployment at 4,43% and the worst rate of school failure at 48%. 

Evolution of Portugal since 2004

The OECD does not publish comparisons between different years.

For Portugal, we can obtain an analysis of the evolution between the beginning of data compilation in 2004, using data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) as well as from Pordata.

The biggest contributor to the overall well-being index was the material living conditions, which grew by 260% in this period.

Quality of life aspect also had a significant increase of 193% between 2004 and 20019.

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