Lisbon metropolitan area

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Lisbon metropolitan area

Área Metropolitana de Lisboa
Map showing the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.
Map showing the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.
MunicipalitiesAlcochete, Almada, Barreiro, Amadora, Cascais, Lisbon, Loures, Mafra, Moita, Montijo, Odivelas, Oeiras, Palmela, Seixal, Sintra, Sesimbra, Setúbal and Vila Franca de Xira.
 • Total3,015.24 km2 (1,164.19 sq mi)
 • Total2,821,876
 • Density940/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
HDI (2017)0.886[1]
very high · 1st
 - GDP(total)€65 billion($105 billion, PPP[2])
 - GDP Per capita€23,200($37,500, PPP[2])
WebsiteA.M. Lisboa

Lisbon metropolitan area (Portuguese: Área Metropolitana de Lisboa, Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈaɾiɐ mɨtɾupuliˈtɐnɐ dɨ liʒˈboɐ], or AML) is an administrative division that includes 18 municipalities (concelhos) in Portugal[4] and is a designated Level II and Level III Portuguese NUTS region.


The Lisbon metropolitan area, centered in the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon, is the largest population concentration in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 2,821,876, of whom 547,733 (19.4%) live in the city of Lisbon. About 26.7% of the total population of Portugal lives in the Lisbon metropolitan area.[5] The area of the Lisbon metropolitan area is 3,015.24 km2, which is 3.3% of the total area of Portugal.[6]

The Lisbon metropolitan area has an active population of about 1.3 million people. With 32.7% of the national employment being located in its territory, the contribution of AML for the gross domestic product surpasses 36%.

Today, the Lisbon metropolitan area territory is almost the same as Lisbon Region territory, being AML a union of metropolitan municipalities, and Lisbon Region a NUTS II region.

The municipalities north of the Tagus River are from Lisbon District (Grande Lisboa); those south of the river are from Setubal District (Península de Setúbal).


The metropolitan area of Lisbon was a semiofficial structure. Recently, Portugal has been incrementing the powers held by these territorial organization organs. In the officialization of the Lisbon Great Metropolitan Area, Azambuja left due to being mostly a rustic zone, more kindred to the city of Santarém which lies just 23 km northeast, while Lisbon is 45 km away from Azambuja, southeast.

In the official AML site is said:

As stated on the law 10/2003, of the 13 of May, the Grande Área Metropolitana de Lisboa (Lisbon Great Metropolitan Area) is a public collective person of associative nature, and of territorial scope that aims to reach common public interests of the municipalities that integrate it, that includes (18 City Halls) – Alcochete, Almada, Barreiro, Cascais, Lisboa, Loures, Mafra, Moita, Montijo, Odivelas, Oeiras, Palmela, Sesimbra, Setúbal, Seixal, Sintra and Vila Franca de Xira.

The Grande Área Metropolitana de Lisboa was constituted, by public scripture, in 2004, and published on 5 July 2004, in the III series of the Diário da República. It is composed by three organs: ·

Junta Metropolitana, executive organ, composed by the 18 presidents of the city halls that it integrates. They elect among themselves, a president and two vice presidents.

Assembleia Metropolitana, legislative organ, composed by the chosen representatives in the municipal assembly of the city halls, in odd number, over the triple the number of the towns that it integrates, in a maximum of 55.

Conselho Metropolitano, consultative organ, composed by representatives of the state and by the members of the Junta Metropolitana.


Municipality Area (km2)[6] Population (2011)[5] N.U.T.S. III inclusion District inclusion Cultural Region inclusion
Amadora 23.78 175,136 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Cascais 97.40 206,479 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Lisbon 100.05 547,733 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Loures 167.24 205,054 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Mafra 291.66 76,685 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Odivelas 26.54 144,549 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Oeiras 45.88 172,120 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Sintra 319.23 377,835 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Estremadura
Vila Franca de Xira 318.19 136,886 Grande Lisboa Lisboa Ribatejo
Alcochete 128.36 17,569 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Almada 70.21 174,030 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Barreiro 36.39 78,764 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Moita 55.26 66,029 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Montijo 348.62 51,222 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Palmela 465.12 62,831 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Seixal 95.50 158,269 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Sesimbra 195.47 49,500 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Setúbal 230.33 121,185 Península de Setúbal Setúbal Estremadura
Total 2,957.4 km2 2,821,876


Portugal has been through a period of administrative changes since the 1974 revolution. More recently, new standards of territorial administration have been implemented to match European Union criteria.

After some years of indefinitions, municipalities are now associated in metropolitan areas or intermunicipal communities.

These new regional divisions are colliding with the traditional Portuguese regional structures: Distritos (Districts). Districts were implemented in the 19th century by Mouzinho da Silveira after the Liberal Revolution, to replace clerical dioceses (which held the intermediate authority between the absolute monarchy and the municipalities), and still are the official regional authorities in Portugal, thus leaving the new metropolitan authorities with no authority at all. For instance, the District of Lisbon and the District of Setubal collide and interfere with the Lisbon metropolitan area authority. Each District is ruled by a governador civil (civil governor). These governors are empowered by the Prime Minister of Portugal and have most of the administrative power over the municipalities comprised, leaving the metropolitan areas with a passive status and communitarian tasks.

To definitely end with these anomalies, a national Referendum was held on November 8, 1998, in order to approve a new regionalization (Referendo à Regionalização), which was rejected by over 60% of the voting population on account of disagreements over the loss of sovereignty of some districts to others (e.g. by the time of the referendum it was not known where the seat of government of the new "Estremadura & Ribatejo" region would be, which was a fusion of the District of Leiria with the District of Santarém, Leiria and Santarém being cities of the same size and importance).

The Regionalization experiment in Portugal was only successful among insular regions like in 1976, when the districts of Angra do Heroísmo, Horta and Ponta Delgada were substituted by the Autonomous Region of Açores with the seat of government being in Ponta Delgada, while the district of Funchal was replaced by the Autonomous Region of Madeira with a seat of government in Funchal.

Portuguese cultural regions[edit]

Portuguese cultural regions and their limits were officially drawn during the 19th century after slight variations since the foundation of Portugal and still there is no agreement about where one region ends and other starts. Cultural regions in Portugal have symbolic importance and no kind of authority. Once again there is no exact geographical conformity between cultural regions, districts or between any of those and the metropolitan areas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Law nr. 75/2013" (pdf). Diário da República (in Portuguese). Assembly of the Republic (Portugal). Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b Instituto Nacional de Estatística
  6. ^ a b Áreas das freguesias, concelhos, distritos e país

External links[edit]