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Observatory of Portuguese Society (OSP)

The Observatory of Portuguese Society (OPS) is dedicated to the study of the Portuguese Society – a social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another, and that involves a national identity, with persons associated together for cultural, political, economic, patriotic, or other purposes. The OPS is associated with the Center for Applied Studies (CEA) of Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics (CATÓLICA-LISBON) and benefits from the collaboration of experienced researchers from CATÓLICA-LISBON and support from CEA members.

View the most recent study from the Observatory of Portuguese Society (only available in Portuguese)
July 2021

Study of Portuguese Society:
Happiness, satisfaction, income, savings and economic confidence (July 2021)

The main objective of the observatory consists in describing and characterizing the Portuguese society by studying specific phenomena of interest. In particular, the observatory measures and monitors aspects related to Portuguese society, such as well-being, quality of life, happiness, health, life satisfaction, security, in an international context. In order to understand specific or underlying concepts of Portuguese society, the OPS collects relevant data using both direct data collection, through the Online Research Panel of CATÓLICA-LISBON, and indirect data collection provided by national and international entities (e.g., socioeconomic, demographic and health statistics). This set of activities will be helpful to understand the impact of specific economic and psychosocial issues in the Portuguese Society.

Findings will be used to establish objectives and guidelines for future research on Portuguese society, to draw and develop strategies to integrate them into policy, and to promote them as alternative measures of progress.

Quarterly studies focused on the characterization of the Portuguese Society

The Observatory of Portuguese Society of CATÓLICA-LISBON performs quarterly studies investigating Portuguese Society. Since its inception, it has performed several studies, offering a broad range of indicators about the Portuguese Society. The first study (October 2015) focused on measuring levels of life satisfaction, happiness, and well-being in Portugal. The second study (March 2016), in addition to collecting data about general societal indicators (such as happiness and well-being) focused on assessing overall trust in the political system, confidence in public institutions, and gathered data about saving behavior. The third study (July 2016) was run immediately following Portugal’s triumph in the Euro 2016 European Football Championship and investigated relationships between happiness and feelings of patriotism. The fourth study run in October 2016 focused on health and well-being indicators measuring feelings of loneliness, health perceptions and quality of life. A fifth study was conducted in March 2017 and, in addition to collecting data on several societal indicators (such as happiness, well-being and quality of life), it also focused on indicators of change in consumption habits, saving habits, and economic confidence in members of the Portuguese society.

View in detail each of the indicators that the Observatory's studies analyse

General happiness and general life satisfaction

Results gathered in March 2019 indicate that participants report feeling happy overall, satisfied with their lives and daily activities.


Life satisfaction

In March 2019, participants agreed, on average, that they were satisfied with their lives, living lives close to their ideals, having obtained the important things in life with excellent living conditions.


Perceived social position

In March 2019, most participants place themselves around the centre of the social ladder (59,7%). 16,4% rank themselves at the lowest extreme and 23,9% at the highest social position.

Health perception

In July 2018, participants agreed, on average, that they care about their health, that they are as healthy as anybody else, that they feel better now than before and expect to be healthier in the future than they are now. 

Quality of life

In July 2018, participants report a positive perception of their quality of life in most domains.

Economic confidence

In spite of the variation of the value between March 2018 and March 2019, a greater proportion of participantes evaluate the Portuguese economic conditions as weak or very weak than as good or excellent.

Overall, the findings can help in formulating objectives and guidelines for future research on Portuguese society, in the development of strategies to integrate these measures into specific policies, and in promoting these measures as alternative barometers of progress.

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Measured since October 2015, the General Indicators are used to measure, each quarter, aspects connected with happiness, life satisfaction, and value attributed to things. Starting in March 2018, religion and health perception have also been studied every quarter by the Observatory. 

View the detailed history for these indicators: 

In 2015 and 2016, the Regular Specific Indicators were focused on an evaluation of life satisfaction, perceived social position, income and savings. Starting in 2017, the Observatory has also gathered information about consumption habits and economic confidence, at least twice a year. 

View the detailed history for these indicators: 

These Specific Indicators are measured once a year (eudemonic well-being; hedonic well-being; political confidence and trust in the government; trust in the institutions; perceptions of health and quality of life). The Observatory also sporadically evaluates specific phenomena and themes, as a result of impactful events for Portuguese society or to explore relevant research questions.

View the detailed history for these indicators: