Portuguese Culture

Family

In Portugal, the family is seen as the foundation of the country’s social structure. Individuals will develop a social network from their family. Indeed, one can depend on their family for assistance in times of need. Great expectation is put on being loyal and committed to the family unit above other relationships and commitments. These values often come before one’s self-interests. Although Portuguese are quite collectivistic and interdependent, family members usually give each other encouragement and freedom to pursue their interests.


Many people live in the same area as their parents. Simultaneously, grandparents often assist in rearing grandchildren by watching them a few days each week. It is not uncommon for grandparents to move into the same home as a parent to aid in caring for the children. In urban areas, households are usually made up of the immediate family with typically one to two children. In rural areas and traditional Catholic families, the number of children may be higher. Rural extended families also tend to be larger, living nearby or with the nuclear family. Regardless, children tend to stay in the family home until they have become financially independent, generally in their mid-twenties. 


The Household Structure and Gender Roles

Household structure typically varies depending on the region of the family. In rural areas, the father is often the primary income-earner for many families while the mother is expected to care for the home and children. Among upper-class families and families in urban areas, many family tasks are equally distributed, For example, both the woman and man earn income to support their families, both will share in the decision-making of the family and both will often share household tasks such as cleaning and cooking.


Dating and Marriage

Dating among youth may begin as early as 13 years old, but these relationships tend not to be serious. Teenagers tend to meet at school and socialise in groups. Common places to socialise and go on dates include cafes, parks and beaches. As people get older, people in the group may pair off and begin dating. Most people expect to marry and begin a family together. The most common age bracket for marriage is between 25 and 30.


In urban areas, some couples may cohabit before marriage or may never marry. Such couples usually enjoy the same legal rights as married couples. A growing number of couples are choosing to marry only civilly, but many continue to have a religious wedding as well. Cohabitation before marriage is frowned upon in many rural families as well as among those who are highly devout Catholics. Same-sex marriage became legal in 2010 and is becoming more accepted as time passes. Divorce is also becoming more common and, except for highly conservative people, most Portuguese are accepting of those who are divorced.

Cultural Competence Program
Cultural Competence Program Logo

Join over 300 organisations already creating a better workplace

Find out more
Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.

Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/63/pt.svg Flag