According to information presented by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) based on statistics from the 2021 Census, in Portugal there are 4,149,096 private households.

According to INE, a private household is understood to be a “group of people who have their usual residence in the family dwelling or an independent person who occupies a family dwelling”, and, in the latter case, a single-person household.

Greater diversity

Over the past 10 years, the structure of the Portuguese family has changed and most families are smaller, there are also more and more people who have children without being married, and also greater family diversity.

Proof of this lies in the fact that single-parent families and reconstituted families already represent 27.4% of households. Between 2011 and 2021, single-parent families grew by 20.7%, now representing 18.5% of all families, while reconstituted families account for 8.8%. 60% of children were born into single parent families.

Reconstituted family nuclei are those in which there is a couple with one or more biological or adopted children and in which at least one of them belongs to only one member of the couple.

According to the 2021 Census, there were 3,127,714 households in that year, most of which concerned families with children, including 45.3% of couples with children and 18.5% of single-parent families.

However, the proportion of families of couples with children decreased by 12.3% compared to 2011, while couples without children increased by 0.03% and single-parent families grew by 20.7%.

Proof that Portuguese families are smaller is the increase in households made up of one and two people and a decrease in households of three and four people.

Single person households

“The number of single-person private households increased by 18.6% and that of four-person private households decreased by 8.8%”, says INE.

In 2021, households made up of a single person represented 24.8% of all households, while households with four people represented 14.7% and households with five or more people corresponded to 5.6%.

“The average size of private households decreased from 3.7 to 2.5 people, from 1970 to 2021, reflecting new forms of family organization, based on smaller family structures and with new configurations”, says the organization.

In the analysis of households made up of a single person, it is clear that they are older people, retired and with a lower level of education, with 1,027,871 in 2021, 161,044 more than in 2011, a “significant growth” related to phenomena demographic factors such as the increase in average life expectancy.

Half of these households (50.3%) were composed of people aged 65 or over, and although a large part of this population was already retired (48.9%), a high percentage (40.6%) was still active. Most of these households were composed of women (61.4%).