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EMARST describes for the European samples the person's current marital status according to law or custom. Individuals who remarried should report the status relevant to their most recent marriage. European census instructions generally limit marital status to legal unions, but there are exceptions.

EMARST has been classified according to the recommendations given by the Conference of European Statisticians for the 2010 Population and Housing Censuses.

Comparability — Index

United Kingdom

Comparability — General

In most cases, the European census instructions specifically limit marital status to legal unions (Austria 1991-2011; Finland; France 1990-2011; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Portugal 1981-2011; Romania 2002-2011; Slovenia 2002; Slovak Republic 1991-2011; Spain 1991-2011; Poland 2002-2011; all Switzerland).

EMARST distinguishes among the categories never married, widowed and not remarried, and divorced and not remarried. Netherlands 1960 and 1971 combine widowed and divorced in a single category, which receives its own code.

Even at the most general level there is an incompatibility in the treatment of consensual unions. Consensual unions are included in "married" in Belarus 1999-2009, Poland 1978-1988, and Portugal 1991-2001, while this happens for registered consensual unions in Finland 2010, Hungary 2011, and Greece 2011. The other European samples do not identify consensual unions in EMARST.

The treatment of separated persons varies across samples: they can be combined with divorced persons or grouped with currently married individuals. See the country comparability discussion and the enumeration text for the relevant samples.

Consensual unions can be identified in many samples using the RELATE variable. However, in all such cases, only unions involving the head of household can be identified. For a number of samples relationship responses of "unmarried partner" indicate a consensual union not recorded in EMARST. For additional samples the variable CONSENS can identify consensual unions not noted in EMARST.

Category Descriptions:
Never married. Never married / Single.

Married. Married or in consensual union.

Widowed and not remarried. Last marriage ended with death of spouse and individual has not remarried. Generally refers to a legal marriage.

Divorced/separated and not remarried. Last marriage ended in divorce and individual has not remarried. Generally refers to a legal divorce from a legal marriage, but also includes separated persons in some samples.

Widowed or divorced. Netherlands 1960 and 1970 include both marital statuses in the same category, which cannot be integrated into the other categories.

Comparability — Belarus [top]

All persons under age 15 are coded "never married/single".

Comparability — Finland [top]

The 2010 sample reports legal marital status. The enumeration documents indicate that divorce regulations in Finland do not recognize the concept of legal separation; thus, people who are legally separated on the basis of old divorce provisions (prior to 1 January 1988) and are living apart were considered to be "married". The categories of "married", "divorced", and "widowed" include persons from registered partnerships.

Comparability — France [top]

For 1990 through 2011 the census stipulated that the marital status question applied only to legal marital status.

Consensual unions can be inferred using the ERELATE variable, but only pertain to unions that include the head of household.

Comparability — Germany [top]

The data appear to report legal marriages.

Comparability — Greece [top]

All Greek samples record the person's legal status.

Consensual unions are not recognized, except in the 2011 sample that includes registered partnerships under the "married" category.

Separations are only identified in 2001 and 2011; in earlier samples such persons who had not formally divorced would have been considered married. For these two samples, divorced and separated are combined.

In 2011, divorced and widowed persons include those who were previously in registered partnerships.

Comparability — Hungary [top]

All samples report legal marital status only.

The 2001 and 2011 samples have a de facto spouse-absent category, which would have been included with "married" in previous years. For these two samples, divorced and separated de facto (spouse-absent) are combined.

In 2011, registered cohabiting partners are grouped with "married"; while divorced and widowed persons include the correspondent categories from those who were in registered cohabiting partnerships.

All samples only report legal status in EMARST. In 2001 and 2011, separate information on consensual unions is recorded in CONSENS.

Comparability — Ireland [top]

The data report legal marriages. The divorced/separated are not reported in 1971 or 1979, so they must have been included in either the "married" or "single" categories. The 1981 sample only identifies persons who obtained a divorce in another country in the "divorce/separated" category.

Comparability — Netherlands [top]

The samples identify legal marital status.

Divorced is combined with widowed in the 1960 and 1971 samples, which poses an incompatibility at the first digit of MARST.

Comparability — Poland [top]

The 1978-1988 samples refer to a de facto marital status, while Poland 2002 and 2011 report legal marital status.

In 1978 and 1988, the "married" category includes those persons who entered into marriage even if they are not formally married. Similarly, for these two samples, persons not living together in a marriage are registered as divorced regardless of formalities.

The Poland 1988 and 2002 distinguish between married couples living together from other cases living apart or with an absent spouse. For these two samples, divorced and separated are combined.

In 2002 and 2011, information about common-law partnerships is reported in a separate source variable (de facto marital status) that is recorded in CONSENS.

Persons younger than age 15 are coded as "Never married/single" in the 2002 and 2011 samples.

Comparability — Portugal [top]

All samples but 1981 report de facto marital status as reported by the respondents. The samples combine legal and de facto marriages.

Comparability — Romania [top]

The Romania 2002 and 2011 samples asked a separate question about consensual unions (see CONSENS). This information is not incorporated in EMARST, because it would mask the legal marital status information for the person.

Persons under age 14 are coded "never married/single" in the 1992 and 2002 samples. The marital status question addressed legal status only. There was no response on any census form for separations.

Comparability — Russia [top]

Persons younger than age 16 are coded as "never married/single" in 2002 and 2010.

Comparability — Slovakia [top]

The data for all samples report legal marital status.

Comparability — Slovenia [top]

The data report legal marital status.

Comparability — Spain [top]

All Spanish samples indicate the person's legal status. The Spain 2001 sample has separate information about consensual unions (see CONSENS). This information is not incorporated in EMARST because it would mask the legal marital status information for the person.

In 2001, only persons who resided in households received the question on marital status.

Comparability — Switzerland [top]

All Swiss samples record the person's legal status. Consensual unions are not recognized, except for registered partnerships in 2011. Separations are not recognized in any sample: in these samples, persons who did not formally divorce are considered married. In 2011, dissolved partnerships are included within "divorced/separated and not remarried".

Comparability — Turkey [top]

Marital status reflects defacto rather than legal statuses. Consensual unions are not identified. Separated persons are not identified and are probably recorded as married.

Comparability — United Kingdom [top]

The censuses asked for legal marital status, but in 2001 there was a separate question to identify de facto separations. In 1961, 1971 and 1991, if a person was legally separated but not divorced, they were considered to be married.


  • Austria 1971: All persons
  • Austria 1981: All persons
  • Austria 1991: All persons
  • Austria 2001: All persons
  • Austria 2011: All persons
  • Belarus 1999: All persons
  • Belarus 2009: All persons
  • Finland 2010: All persons
  • France 1962: All persons
  • France 1968: All persons
  • France 1975: All persons
  • France 1982: All persons
  • France 1990: All persons
  • France 1999: All persons
  • France 2006: All persons
  • France 2011: All persons
  • Germany 1970: All persons
  • Germany 1971: All persons
  • Germany 1981: All persons
  • Germany 1987: All persons
  • Greece 1971: All persons
  • Greece 1981: All persons
  • Greece 1991: All persons
  • Greece 2001: All persons
  • Greece 2011: All persons
  • Hungary 1970: All persons
  • Hungary 1980: All persons
  • Hungary 1990: All persons
  • Hungary 2001: All persons
  • Hungary 2011: All persons
  • Ireland 1971: All persons
  • Ireland 1979: All persons
  • Ireland 1981: All persons
  • Ireland 1986: All persons
  • Ireland 1991: All persons
  • Ireland 1996: All persons
  • Ireland 2002: All persons
  • Ireland 2006: All persons
  • Ireland 2011: All persons
  • Ireland 2016: All persons
  • Italy 2001: All persons
  • Italy 2011: All persons
  • Netherlands 1960: All persons
  • Netherlands 1971: All persons
  • Netherlands 2001: All persons
  • Netherlands 2011: All persons
  • Poland 1978: All persons
  • Poland 1988: All persons
  • Poland 2002: All persons
  • Poland 2011: All persons
  • Portugal 1981: All persons
  • Portugal 1991: All persons
  • Portugal 2001: All persons
  • Portugal 2011: All persons
  • Romania 1977: All persons
  • Romania 1992: All persons
  • Romania 2002: All persons
  • Romania 2011: All persons
  • Russia 2002: All persons
  • Russia 2010: All persons
  • Slovakia 1991: All persons
  • Slovakia 2001: All persons
  • Slovakia 2011: All persons
  • Slovenia 2002: All persons
  • Spain 1981: All persons
  • Spain 1991: All persons
  • Spain 2001: Persons who reside in the household
  • Spain 2011: All persons
  • Switzerland 1970: All persons
  • Switzerland 1980: All persons
  • Switzerland 1990: All persons
  • Switzerland 2000: All persons
  • Switzerland 2011: All persons
  • Turkey 1985: All persons
  • Turkey 1990: All persons
  • Turkey 2000: All persons
  • Ukraine 2001: All persons
  • United Kingdom 1961: All persons
  • United Kingdom 1971: All persons
  • United Kingdom 1991: All persons
  • United Kingdom 2001: All persons


  • Austria: 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011
  • Belarus: 1999, 2009
  • Finland: 2010
  • France: 1962, 1968, 1975, 1982, 1990, 1999, 2006, 2011
  • Germany: 1970, 1971, 1981, 1987
  • Greece: 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011
  • Hungary: 1970, 1980, 1990, 2001, 2011
  • Ireland: 1901, 1911, 1971, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2006, 2011, 2016
  • Italy: 2001, 2011, 2011Q1, 2012Q1, 2013Q1, 2014Q1, 2015Q1, 2016Q1, 2017Q1, 2018Q1, 2019Q1, 2020Q1
  • Netherlands: 1960, 1971, 2001, 2011
  • Poland: 1978, 1988, 2002, 2011
  • Portugal: 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011
  • Romania: 1977, 1992, 2002, 2011
  • Russia: 2002, 2010
  • Slovakia: 1991, 2001, 2011
  • Slovenia: 2002
  • Spain: 1981, 1991, 2001, 2005Q1, 2005Q2, 2005Q3, 2005Q4, 2006Q1, 2006Q2, 2006Q3, 2006Q4, 2007Q1, 2007Q2, 2007Q3, 2007Q4, 2008Q1, 2008Q2, 2008Q3, 2008Q4, 2009Q1, 2009Q2, 2009Q3, 2009Q4, 2010Q1, 2010Q2, 2010Q3, 2010Q4, 2011, 2011Q1, 2011Q2, 2011Q3, 2011Q4, 2012Q1, 2012Q2, 2012Q3, 2012Q4, 2013Q1, 2013Q2, 2013Q3, 2013Q4, 2014Q1, 2014Q2, 2014Q3, 2014Q4, 2015Q1, 2015Q2, 2015Q3, 2015Q4, 2016Q1, 2016Q2, 2016Q3, 2016Q4, 2017Q1, 2017Q2, 2017Q3, 2017Q4, 2018Q1, 2018Q2, 2018Q3, 2018Q4, 2019Q1, 2019Q2, 2019Q3, 2019Q4, 2020Q1, 2020Q2, 2020Q3, 2020Q4
  • Switzerland: 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2011
  • Turkey: 1985, 1990, 2000
  • Ukraine: 2001
  • United Kingdom: 1961, 1971, 1991, 2001