Portugal has the 7th Cleanest Air Quality in Europe

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Published on 21 March, 2024 • Last updated on 21 March, 2024

By Portugal Homes

Portugal has the 7th Cleanest Air Quality in Europe

Portugal has the 7th Cleanest Air Quality in Europe

Portugal is one of the best nations in the world for those seeking relocation or a second residency. The country continues to demonstrate why it is truly the ideal destination for those considering a lifestyle change, as now appears ranked as the 7th Cleanest Air Quality in Europe. In a study published on the 19th of March 2024, IQAir, a Swiss air quality company specialised in air pollution, published its yearly World Air Quality Report. IQAir examined air quality data from almost 7,812 cities across 134 countries, which was collected from more than 30,000 monitoring stations. 

Which Countries Have the Cleanest Air Quality?

The World Air Quality Report, promoted by IQAir, explains the air quality measured in Particulate Matter (PM), which are the solid particles and liquid droplets present in the air. PMs become airborne via dirt, soot, smoke, dust, or through other harmful substances, that usually come from car engines, industrial machines, power generation, etc., but also originate from natural sources, including storms and fires, for instance. Since PMs are microscopic, they are easily inhalable and can lead to aggravated health problems. The 2023 World Air Quality Report examined PMs of the size 2,5 micrometres, or smaller, in diameter, which are the most harmful type.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that every year, 7 million people lose their lives prematurely due to air pollution. The Report also followed the most up-to-date WHO’s PM2,5 guidelines when it comes to air quality, which targets the “ideal” PM2,5 at 0,5 micrograms or fewer per cubic metre. Overall, out of the 134 studied countries, only 10 countries meet WHO’s target, “earning” the Report’s blue band, which determines the countries with the Cleanest air quality. Out of the 10, only 3 countries are in Europe. In order: Finland, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius and the French Polynesia.

How Clean is the Air Quality in Portugal? 

Portugal is featured in the 2023 World Air Quality Report’s green band, the second-best category, which places the PM2,5 level between 5,1 to 10 micrograms per cubic meter. It is important to note that the European Union, of which Portugal is a member, limits the presence of PM2,5 in the air to 25 micrograms. The study covered 2,006 cities, across 43 countries, to produce the findings on the European continent.

According to the 2023 World Air Quality Report, Portugal only had 6,8 micrograms of PM2,5 per cubic metre, a staggering difference of 18,2 micrograms, where Portugal is far below the EU officially recommended levels. In 2023, Portugal also witnessed a substantial decrease of 1,3 PM2,5 micrograms from 2022, where it had scored 8,1. Besides the previously mentioned European countries in the blue band, only Ireland, Norway, and Sweden are ahead of Portugal in the green band, which means Portugal has the 7th Cleanest Air in Europe. In comparison, Bosnia and Herzegovina holds the title of the most polluted European country, with 27,5 micrograms of PM2,5 per cubic metre, though it is not part of the European Union. In the EU, that title goes to Greece, which is in the Report’s orange band, with 17,4 micrograms of PM2,5. Spain, Portugal’s next-door neighbour, is the last European Union country in the green band, with 9,9 PM2,5 micrograms per cubic metre. 

To put it into perspective, Portugal’s air quality is cleaner than other countries like China, Belgium, France, Germany, Israel, India, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Portugal also features 3 locations in the Least Polluted European Cities ranking, with Lamas de Olo taking the Portuguese crown with the 6th place at 2,8 micrograms. Vaqueiros follows closely at the 7th position, with 2,9 micrograms, and Portugal rounds out its presence with Santana, in the 15th position, with 3,4 micrograms of PM2,5, each following and meeting WHO’s target.

More Reasons to Move to Portugal

Besides having one of the best air qualities in all of Europe, Portugal has so many more reasons to entice expats to come and discover the continent’s westernmost point. Regardless of reason, Portugal truly has at least something for anyone seeking relocation to another country.

Europe may not be the cleanest region when it comes to air quality, but it is the safest region in the world. In fact, according to the 2023 Global Peace Index, Portugal is the 7th safest country in the world and the 5th in Europe. The Index uses a score between 1 and 5, of which 1 means the most peaceful and 5 the least peaceful. Overall, Portugal scored 1,333, with indicators such as violent demonstrations and violent crimes scoring as low as 1,5 and 1 respectively. 

In terms of weather, Portugal has one of Europe’s sunniest weathers, consistently receiving more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. The capital, Lisbon, receives an average of 320 hours of sunlight per month, and the Algarve region, in the summer, is the country’s prime spot for beach holidays. 

Portugal and the Portuguese people are also extremely proficient in English, which is absolutely one of the most important factors for any expat looking to move abroad, since it ensures smooth and easy communication with little to no linguistic barriers. According to the 2023 EF English Proficiency Index, which analyses English fluency in non-English native countries, Portugal scored 8th in the ranking, revealing it to be one of the most English-proficient countries in the world, ahead of countries like Germany.

For families, especially for parents concerned with their children’s education, Portugal is also an excellent choice. The country places a deep focus on education across all levels, from elementary to superior. Portugal has some of Europe’s best international schools which follow diverse curriculums, like the IB, British, and American. Portugal even consistently features in Europe’s Top Business Universities and has extremely accessible and low tuition costs. 

To round it all up, Portugal also provides easily accessible and legal platforms to achieve Residency status in the country, which enables expats and their families to settle down and legally live in Portugal, with programmes like the D2 Visa.

Portugal Homes makes navigating through Residency initiatives effortless. With personalised guidance and unique services, Portugal Homes takes care of your Residency application process through our exclusive D2 Visa investment options. Get in touch today with us to discover more about this exciting opportunity, and get Residency in 3 months, and Citizenship in 5 years.


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