The impact of migration on family organization: using the family reconstitution method to analyse trends of family units in the context of the 19th century emigration in northwest Portugal

Cristiana V. Andrade, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais

Emigration had an important impact on the northern Portuguese demographic dynamics over the 19th century. Thousands of young boys left northwest Portugal in search of better opportunities in the New World. The outflow of a great number of young males had a major impact on the demographic balance of the northwest population due to very low sex ratio and lack of grooms in the marital market. In this context, this paper aims to explore the demographics mechanisms that kept the northwest population from collapsing, keeping its fertility trends. The research was based on an extensive analysis of the town of Vila do Conde and make use of the Family Reconstitution method associated with migration information taken from passport registers. As a result, it was possible to identify the adaptations on marital behaviour and family unit, as well as to observe the importance of internal migration to the maintenance of fertility trends.

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Presented in Session 88: History of the family