Portugal joins top 20

Portugal is the 19th best country in the world to live in, according to a report entitled The World in 2005, in the Economist magazine.

The survey aims to measure the overall quality of life in a particular country. A somewhat elusive concept, the survey reached its conclusions by appraising various factors: income, political freedom and stability, healthcare, unemployment, crime, family life and climate.

The result places Portugal in the top 20 countries, drawn from a list of 111, based on polls carried out with citizens of the respective states. Portugal had an overall evaluation of 7.31 out of a possible 10, but did not fare so well in its economic performance, occupying 31st place in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

Ireland came top of the list, with 8.33 points, followed by Switzerland, Norway, Luxembourg, Sweden, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Denmark and Spain. England was in 29th place, behind all original 15 European Union member states. France and Germany occupied 25th and 26th place respectively. The study’s authors explain the success of Ireland owes to the country combining “some of the most desirable factors”, notably low unemployment and stable family life.

National wealth, measured in terms of GDP, was not the decisive factor in determining a country’s final ranking. The United States, for example, second in economic ‘ranking’, fell to 13th in its final ‘quality of life ranking’. Qatar, sixth in per capita GDP, came in at number 41 overall. At the bottom of the list were Nigeria, Botswana, Haiti and Zimbabwe.