That Portugal underwent a period of dramatic societal change in the last 25 years of the twentieth century is beyond dispute. One need look no further than the new landscape of motorways, apartment blocks, hypermarkets, advertising hoardings and mobile phones, to know that change has been profound and rapid. Portugal increasingly conforms to the model of an advanced western European state in terms of its economic structure, democratic political tradition, models of social organisation and state provision of welfare services, as well as in the aspirations and expectations of its population. Socio-economic indicators confirm increasing convergence to European norms whether in terms of diet, electoral turn out or demographic characteristics.