Expat-friendly Portugal ranks 12th in the Quality of Life Index

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Cost of living, Life in Portugal, Lifestyle and culture

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With a relaxed lifestyle, generally favorable work-life balance, and high levels of sustainable development, Portugal has long been heralded as an excellent country to live in. Expats the world over have found the Portuguese to be friendly and welcoming, and a recent focus on environmental quality for example with Lisbon winning the European Green Capital Award in 2020has bolstered the country to no end. Each of these are important factors as to why Portugal ranks in 12th position in the pioneering  Quality of Life Index by Global Citizen Solutions 

Portugal ranked 12th in the Quality of Life Index

Portugal is a relatively small country, both in terms of geographical size and population — with a population of 10.21 million and where it is possible to travel from north to south in less than eight hours by car.There are few different reasons why Portugal ranks well in the Quality of Life Index. First and foremost amongst them is the country’s “very high” performance in sustainable development and environmental performance, and Portugal is a “free” country in terms of the level of freedom assessment. Portugal also performs “high” for migrant acceptance, highlighting the country to be welcoming and as “high” in terms of the level of happiness, showing that its citizens are, for the most part, happy with their quality of life. On the other hand, the cost of living was deemed as “high”, which may be a limitation to the country’s performance. However, particularly outside Lisbon, the country is very affordable for expats, from enjoying a meal out to buying a property. Each of these factors means that Portugal comes in at 12th in the Quality of Life Index. Note that Portugal ranks 30th in the Global Passport Index as a whole, coming in 8th position in the Enhanced Mobility Index and 72nd in the Investment Index.

Portugal: promoting environment and sustainable development

Portugal ranked in the top 30 countries in the Sustainable Development Report, showing that the country is in a relatively high position. In recent years, Portugal has positioned itself to be an ambitious country in terms of addressing environmental and climate issues. Portugal 2020 is a partnership between Portugal and the European Commission that is dedicated to sustainable economic and social development. By 2050, the country aims to be climate neutral, releasing no carbon into the atmosphere. When it comes to environmental quality, since 2020, 1drinking water in the entire country meets health standards, and, although the country ranks as “satisfactory” for air pollution, Portugal is also seeking to improve this further. Lisbon winning the European Green Capital Award in 2020 highlights Portugal’s ambition in becoming one of the most progressive countries in terms of addressing climatic and environmental problems., If you come to Portugal, you’ll see cycle lanes and more green spaces cropping up across cities in the country. 

Portugal: Freedom of speech and migrant acceptance

Portugal is a stable parliamentary democracy, which is a multiparty political system that regularly transfers power between political parties. Portugal has good levels of individual freedom of speech in terms of civil liberties and political rights.The country also is very accepting of migrants, with expats coming from the world over to enjoy the many perks of living in Portugal. The country also ranked as the fourth safest country in the world, according to the 2021 World Peace Index, likely a key reason as to why so many expats flock to Portugal,

Portugal level of happiness and cost of living

Portugal has continued to move up the World Happiness Index over the past few years. While the average salaries are amongst the lowest in Europe, the country still performs well, based on Gallup’s qualitative survey on the happiness levels of its citizens. While the cost of living is “high” in the Global Passport Index, when compared to Western Europe, Portugal is very affordable. It is possible to buy property, go out to restaurants, and buy daily essentials all at much cheaper rates than in France, the UK, or even Spain. 

The World’s best passports for quality of life:

Sweden comes out on top of the pack as having the best passport in our Quality of Life Index. This is followed by Finland (2nd), Denmark (3rd), Canada (4th), Germany (5th), Netherlands (6th), New Zealand (7th), United Kingdom (8th), Spain (9th), Austria (10th), Ireland (11th), Portugal (12th), France (13th), Norway (14th), Andorra (15th), Australia (16th), Slovenia (17th), San Marino (18th), Luxemburg (19th), and Iceland (20th).

What makes this index different from others?

Most passport rankings tend to focus on the number of countries that you are able to visit visa-free with a certain passport. While this is definitely an important factor to consider when determining the strength of a passport, we believe that the true value of a passport goes far beyond this. In other words, Global Citizen Solutions created a ranking system for passports for people in different walks of life. Because guess what? People are different!The Quality of Life Index accounts for the overall quality of life that a country offers and includes aspects that make a country a ‘desirable’ location for expats, retirees, and digital nomads that are looking to move to a new country. Many different thematic areas were chosen and the research was undertaken to identify the most reliable data sources. Data was collected from the World Economic Forum, the Sustainable Development Report, and the World Bank, amongst other sources. There were six weighted indicators, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the cost of living, and the level of freedom. More information about their methodology can be found here

Securing a second passport

The more traditional routes of securing citizenship, such as through birth, marriage, or naturalization have long been regarded as the main ways to gain a second passport. However, citizenship-by-investment programs are becoming increasingly popular, with many individuals securing citizenship through this route. Citizenship-by-investment programs will vary depending on the county for example, with the investment amount required, the investment options, and so on. These programs provide key advantages to both the host country and the individual, providing a boost to the country’s economy and giving you increased personal and financial freedom and security. Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique global citizenship and residence advisory firm, providing citizenship and residency solutions to international clients. Contact them today to begin your journey to obtain true global citizenship. 

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