Evolution and Profiles of Divorce in Binational Couples in Portugal (1988-2013)

Research Group

Governance, Economy and Citizenry

Website: n.a.


This project aims to analyze the evolution and patterns of divorce in binational couples in Portugal between 1995 and 2013. Although there are some studies on divorce dating from 1980 and 1990, mainly of a qualitative nature, this subject did not deserve much attention from the Portuguese sociology.

At the origin of the interest in divorces between binational couples (also known as exogamous or mixed by some authors) is the fact that immigrant communities in Portugal increased considerably, especially from the 1990s (Ferreira and Ramos 2008, Gaspar 2010, Ramos et al., 2015), which contributed to a remarkable increase in marriages between individuals of different national origins. In fact, binational marriages have been changing Portuguese family and conjugal structures and dynamics, representing, for the academy as well as for the public, a central theme to be analyzed and understood.

This study will focus on divorces of couples involving Portuguese and nationals of other countries (possibly will be operationalized considering only marriages between Portuguese and the nationals of some of the most represented immigrant communities in Portugal).

Most of the statistical information of the research will be obtained from official national institutions (INE), namely the microdata of divorces (from 1995 to 2013) and the General Census of Population (Censuses 2001 and 2011). The study of these data will allow us to analyze not only the sociodemographic structure of divorced Portuguese and foreigners in 2001 and 2011 (Censuses), but also the evolution of divorced couples during the period under analysis. Thus, it will be possible to obtain the evolution of the main tendencies and patterns of divorces in binational couples, and to identify the characteristics of the social actors (national and foreign) that are part of this process.

In parallel, and in order to contextualize the analysis, the patterns of divorce between national couples in which both spouses are Portuguese (here called "national couples") and binational will be compared.

We hope this analysis will make it possible to identify the sociodemographic characteristics of the spouses, being crucial for the distinction of the profiles of divorces between national and binational couples. In fact, the microdata of divorces and the information contained in the 2001 and 2011 Censuses include key data to be considered: nationality, existence of common children, age, education level, year of marriage, termination of the process, length of marriage, condition of work and situation in the profession.

These indicators will allow us to respond to our objectives from a diachronic perspective by applying different univariate (descriptive measures), bivariate (contingency tables), and multivariate techniques (multiple correspondence analysis, cluster analysis) to observe trends and patterns associated with divorce, and to understand the influence of certain indicators on marital dissolution.

Period: 2014 - 2015

Funding Institution: ACIDI - Alto Comissariado para a Imigração e Diálogo Intercultural, I.P.

Coordination: Sofia Gaspar (CIES-IUL)

DINÂMIA'CET-IUL Team: Ana Cristina Ferreira, Madalena Ramos


Book Chapter:

Marriage and Migration in Portugal: Exploring Trends and Patterns of Divorce in Exogamous and Endogamous Couples

Ana Cristina Ferreira, Madalena Ramos, Sofia Gaspar

Updated: 31/01/2018

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Ed. Iscte

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T.: (+351) 21 046 4031 | (+351) 210 464 197

E.: dinamia@iscte-iul.pt