Church weddings out of fashion in Algarve.jpg

Church weddings out of fashion in Algarve


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A NEW survey has revealed that out of 1,645 weddings in the Algarve last year, 1,006 were civil ceremonies, with just 639 couples opting for a traditional Catholic church service.

The study, carried out by the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), the national statistics office, also revealed that Algarvean men, in common with men in Lisbon, like to marry later in life than those living in the rest of the country.

Women appear to be showing the same reluctance, with females in the region marrying a year later than the national average. In past years the majority of couples got married in their early 20s but the current average age to get married in Portugal is 31.3 for men and 28.9 for women.

The average age for getting divorced on the other hand is decreasing, with the average age in 2005, standing at 39.8 in comparison to 41.7 in 2004.


It appears that marriages of couples living in Lisbon are more likely to fail, with the capital having the country’s highest divorce rate: 2.7 divorces per 1,000 members of the population. Meanwhile, in the Algarve, there are two divorces for every 1,000 inhabitants. Living together is becoming more common here, despite Portugal’s strong catholic roots, with 25 per cent of all couples tying the knot this year cohabiting beforehand.

Families are getting smaller as the years go by, with only 20 per cent of the national total in 2005, being composed of five people or more. In the Algarve, Lisbon and the Alentejo, this amount is just six per cent.

From the statistics available in this study, more couples are opting to just have one child, with the number of couples with two children or more decreasing from 29 per cent in the year 2000, to 26 per cent of the total in 2005.

With regards to employment, the total number of people who go out to work in the Algarve out of an official regional population of 416,847 is 193,000 – 111,000 of which are men and 82,000 are women. Unemployment is affecting the whole country and in 2005, 12,000 individuals were registered unemployed.

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