Algarve region leads development ranking

The Algarveregion leads the Economic and Social Development Municipal Index, with 11 cities in the top 30.

Lisbon, Porto and Albufeira complete the podium, in a list of 308 Portuguese cities, while cities in the north of Portugal comprise most of the bottom 30 ranking spots.

The ranking and report, now in its third edition, were compiled by the Beira Interior University, in Covilhã, during the last quarter of 2012, based on data from 2010 by the National Statistics Office INE.

Report coordinator Pires Manso highlights that the study includes the highest number of indicators in Portugal. The ranking takes into account social, economic and material dimensions, subdivided into items such as number of healthcare facilities per thousand inhabitants, schooling levels and economic dynamics.

According to the report, it was expected that cities such as Lisbon, Porto, Albufeira, Funchal, Coimbra and Faro would feature in the top, mainly “due to economic aspects”.

But there were surprises, such as Constância, Marvão, Alter, Barrancos, Vimioso and Santa Cruz das Flores. Pires Manso believes these results reflect the relevancy of some specific indicators in some locations, citing tourism as an example: “With tourism, a whole set of economic activities and dynamics arises”.

He adds that the report may serve as “food for thought” for political powers, at a central and local level, mentioning that the results “show a country running at three different speeds: the fastest being the urbanised towns near the coastline, followed by Portugal’s hinterland, sub-divided into urban and rural areas, which run at medium and slow speeds respectively.

The report and ranking will be available on the Beira Interior University website soon (