Is Port Wine making the population of the Douro richer?

Sunrise in the Douro valleyCurrently, the global economic situation, with a local and international crisis with reduction of Port Wine production and the difficulties that some vinegrowers are facing, made me reflect about the impact of the Port Wine production in the population of the Douro valley. Is Port Wine really increasing life standards of the population that live in the region, when compared with the surrounding areas of the Douro valley? Put in another way, is it worth for the population, to grow vines and make Port Wine, or would it be better to focus on something else?

Trying to get some figures that could give us a hint to reply to these questions, I went to the INE – Portuguese Statistics Institute. I searched for the per capita purchasing power indicator by town. The data show two groups: population from towns mainly within the Douro region and another from municipalities surrounding the Douro (outside or barely inside the region). In this analysis are excluded major cities either inside and outside of the region that have a major part of the services sector in their local economies (such as Vila Real, Lamego, Chaves or Bragança). The last series available is from 2007, which is more than okay for what we need.

These are the results:

Towns within the Douro

Peso da Régua — 76,68
Mesão Frio — 55,93
São João da Pesqueira — 55,05
Torre de Moncorvo — 54,31
Vila Nova de Foz Côa — 54,01
Freixo de Espada à Cinta — 53,52
Sabrosa — 52,30
Murça — 52,23
Alij󠠠ó — 51,26
Vila Flor — 50,70
Armamar — 49,83
Santa Marta de Penaguião — 49,74
Mêda — 49,19
Tabuaço — 47,75
Carrazeda de Ansiães — 47,64

Average — 54,25

Towns out of the Douro

Almeida— 72,90
Miranda do Douro — 63,09
Tarouca — 59,06
Celorico da Beira — 55,72
Alfândega da Fé — 55,40
Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo — 54,80
Moimenta da Beira — 54,03
Mogadouro — 53,85
Vila Pouca de Aguiar — 52,46
Castro Daire — 52,23
Vimioso — 51,15
Boticas — 48,74
Resende — 47,95
Penedono — 47,71
Sernancelhe — 46,95

Average 54,40

Surprisingly, there is no difference in the per capita purchasing power by town, in % of the whole country. This means that on average, the purchasing power of those living in the Douro valley is 54% of the whole country, and those living in the surroundings of the Douro have exactly the same figure, 54%. This is frustrating, it means that the Port Wine industry was able to make Port Wine the most well know product from Portugal but failed to improve the life standards of the population where it is made.


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