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Educational attainment, Portugal

Codes and Frequencies

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Explore how IPUMS created this variable


      class Educpt:public Editor {

    Educpt(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::pt2011a:
            if (PT2011A_0419() == 1 && PT2011A_0417() == 1)
                a = 12;




EDUCPT indicates the person's educational attainment in Portugal in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

The structure of the education system in Portugal underwent a reform in the late 1980's (implemented during the 1990's):

  • Before the 1990's, the system followed a 4-2-3-3 structure, comprising the primary cycle (grades 1-4), preparatory cycle (grades 5-6), unified secondary school (grades 7-9), and the supplementary secondary cycle (grades 10-12).
  • After the1990's, the system maintained the 4-2-3-3 structure, but including three cycles of basic education (first cycle with grades 1-4, second cycle with grades 5-6, and third cycle with grades 7-9) followed by secondary education (grades 10-12).

The 1981 and 1991 samples use the pre-1990's structure, while the 2001 and 2011 samples use the post-1990's structure. The census documentation for all samples identifies equivalences between these two systems and also with older education systems for Portugal. For EDUCPT, we use a generic 4-2-3-3 structure to harmonize educational attainment across samples.

For all census samples, educational attainment includes various forms of post-secondary technical education. Professional school encompasses different courses of varied duration and entrance requirements, such as training in administrative office support, journalism, languages and tourism, interior design, nursing, agricultural machinery, electricity, etc. Other post-secondary education (médio) includes mainly teacher training. Specialized technical school is training in technical qualified professions (requiring a level 4 qualification).

The 1981 and 1991 samples separately identify professional school, but the 2001 and 2011 censuses instruct to classify these cases under their equivalent education level (or to record the last level attained before these courses if it was not possible to establish equivalence). In 2011, enumerators were instructed to record other post-secondary education (médio) as a bachelor degree. The 1981 sample includes a general category for university degrees, while the 1991-2011 samples distinguish bachelor, licentiate, master, and doctoral degrees.


  • All persons


  • Portugal: 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011