Regional limits in Portugal - an application of cluster analysis
In 1989, Portugal has adopted the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) of the European Union (EU) to promote statistical normalisation in the EU. This classification grouped the portuguese municipalities in three levels: NUTS III (28 units in the Mainland), NUTS II (5 units in the Mainland) and NUTS I (3 units: Mainland, Madeira Islands and Azores Islands). In 2002, the Portuguese government approved a law introducing some modifications to the former nomenclature, namely in the regions of Centro, Lisboa e Vale do Tejo and Alentejo. Further to these modifications, some NUTS III units were moved from Lisboa e Vale do Tejo (new designation is Lisboa) to Centro and Alentejo. In this paper we group territorial units, following the methodology of cluster analysis, making use of official statistics like the population census of 2001. Our goal is to obtain homogenous NUTS II in economic and social terms, therefore challenging the 2002 nomenclature modifications. We select our variables to characterise the territorial units, according to the competitiveness territorial pyramid (Mateus et al., 2000), which classifies the territorial analysis by themes like demography, labour market, workers qualifications, innovation, entrepreneurship, productive specialization and infrastructures to support production.
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