The Portuguese cities with the best quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic

Quality of life in Portugal in 2021
Quality of life in Portugal in 2021 / Photo by Everaldo Coelho on Unsplash
22 April 2021, Redaction

The pandemic has generated new space needs and some people are thinking of moving house, and even location. Even more so as a result of the pandemic, quality of life is something that carries a lot of weight on the decision of where to live. In order to help you to form an opinion, there is nothing like listening to those who live there. When it comes to quality of life in Portugal in 2021, the inhabitants of Viseu, Leiria and Braga are those who are, in general, the most satisfied with the place where they live. But those who live in Évora, Lisbon, Porto and Setúbal find more reasons to be unhappy in their respective urban centres, according to a study carried out by Deco Proteste, which analysed the quality of life in 12 Portuguese cities.

The study, which received almost 3.500 responses, analysed indicators such as housing, the cost of living, employment and the job market, and also concluded that the coronavirus crisis has worsened the quality of life in the places analysed. According to Deco Proteste, of the 10 aspects of life assessed, the cost of living, security and crime and cleanliness and waste management are those that have the greatest impact on the quality of life in cities, with Viseu standing out as the city that is above average in these 3 areas.

For each area, the association asked residents what assessment they made between the moment they responded (at the end of 2020) and the period immediately prior to the coronavirus crisis. "Although in most cities the respondents defend that everything is the same, there are differences in some criteria: for example, a third of those living in Lisbon who took part in the survey consider that the environment and pollution have improved. The coronavirus confinement and fewer cars circulating in Lisbon will have contributed to this opinion", reads the study.

Housing market: the least popular area

The housing market in Portugal, for which Deco asked participants for an valuation of the housing offer and prices, is the area with the lowest average rating: 5.1 out of 10 points. In the 3 cities with the lowest scores in this area, over 60% of respondents were dissatisfied with the housing market. The cost of living (5.5) and employment and labour market (5.6) are other areas with a low average scores.

For Deco Proteste, these results will not be indifferent to the crisis that affected the country 10 years ago, nor to the consequences that the pandemic is having for all citizens, in general, and certain sectors, in particular. "For example, around half of the participants in Évora and Faro consider that the housing market is worse off than before the pandemic. Regarding employment and the job market, around 60% or more of respondents in all cities mentioned that this area has also worsened. As for the cost of living, only in Évora, Setúbal and Oporto, more than half the inhabitants indicated that the situation was worse than before the coronavirus crisis", he explains.

Despite all of this, the survey concludes that Portuguese cities are considered safe and that inhabitants are satisfied with education, as these 2 areas achieved the highest average satisfaction score: 7 points out of a possible 10. "However, more than a third of respondents in Braga consider that safety has decreased with the pandemic. As for education, nearly a third of the inhabitants of Évora and almost a quarter of those of Lisbon argue that this area has also worsened with COVID-19".

The pandemic has reduced quality of life

The association's survey also focused on the respondents' opinion on the quality of life 5 years ago, 2 years ago, just before the coronavirus crisis and when they took part in the survey, between October and November 2020. "We therefore sought to obtain the perception of Portuguese residents as to the recovery from the economic crisis originated by the request for foreign aid and the years of recovery until the moment that the pandemic forced the closure of the country".

The publication concludes that "it was unanimous that the coronavirus crisis decreased the quality of life in all cities in Portugal. While in previous years it had remained relatively stable, with only some slight rises and falls in certain urban centres, the end of 2020 has worsened the scenario".

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