Households and families

Concepts and definitions
A.
Relationship to head or other reference member of household (paras. 2.67.- 2.76.)
 
1
Household
 
2
Familiy
 
3
Difference between the concept of household and family
B.
Household and family composition (paras. 2.77.- 2.83.)
 
1
Family nucleus
 
2
Type of household
C.
Household and family status (para. 2.84.)

 

A. Relationship to head or other reference member of household (paras. 2.67.- 2.76.)

A.1 Household

A household is classified as either:

  (a)
A one-person household, defined as an arrangement in which one person makes provision for his or her own food or other essentials for living without combining with any other person to form part of a multi-person household or
  (b)
A multi-person household, defined as a group of two or more persons living together who make common provision for food or other essentials for living.

The persons in the group may pool their incomes and have a common budget to a greater or lesser extent; they may be related or unrelated persons or a combination of persons both related and unrelated. This arrangement exemplifies the housekeeping concept. In an alternative definition used in many countries exemplifying the so-called household-dwelling concept, a household consists of all persons living together in a housing unit.

A.2 Family

The family within the household, a concept of particular interest, is defined as those members of the household who are related, to a specified degree, through blood, adoption or marriage. The degree of relationship used in determining the limits of the family in this sense is dependent upon the uses to which the data are to be put and so cannot be established for worldwide use.

A.3 Difference between the concept of household and family

From the definitions of "household" and "family", it is clear that household and family are different concepts that cannot be used interchangeably in the same census. The difference between the household and the family is

  (a)

that a household may consist of only one person but a family must contain at least two members and

  (b)

that the members of a multi-person household need not be related to each other, while the members of a family must be related.

Moreover, a family cannot comprise more than one household; a household, however, can contain more than one family, or one or more families together with one or more non-related persons, or it can consist entirely of non-related persons.

B. Household and family composition (paras. 2.77.- 2.83.)

B.1 Family nucleus

A family nucleus is of one of the following types (each of which must consist of persons living in the same household):

  (a)
A married couple without children,
  (b)
A married couple with one or more unmarried children,
  (c)
A father with one or more unmarried children or
  (d)
A mother with one or more unmarried children.

Couples living in consensual unions should be regarded as married couples.

B.2 Type of household

Households should be classified by type according to the number of family nuclei they contain and the relationship, if any, between the family nuclei and the other members of the household. The relationship should be through blood, adoption or marriage, to whatever degree is considered pertinent by the country. Given the complexity of this item, it is important that information on relationship to the household head or reference person be properly processed.

The types of household to be distinguished could be:

  (a)
One-person household;
  (b)

Nuclear household, defined as a household consisting entirely of a single family nucleus. It may be classified into:

  (i) Married-couple family:
   
a.
With child(ren);
   
b.
Without child(ren);
  (ii) Father with child(ren);
  (iii) Mother with child(ren);

 

  (c)

Extended household, defined as a household consisting of any one of the following:

  (i)
A single family nucleus and other persons related to the nucleus, for example, a father with child(ren) and other relative(s) or a married couple with other relative(s) only;
  (ii)

Two or more family nuclei related to each other without any other persons, for example, two or more married couples with child(ren) only;

  (iii)
Two or more family nuclei related to each other plus other persons related to at least one of the nuclei, for example, two or more married couples with other relative(s) only;
  (iv)
Two or more persons related to each other, none of whom constitute a family nucleus;

 

  (d)

Composite household, defined as a household consisting of any of the following:

  (i)
A single family nucleus plus other persons, some of whom are related to the nucleus and some of whom are not, for example, mother with child(ren) and other relatives and nonrelatives;
  (ii)
A single family nucleus plus other persons, none of whom is related to the nucleus, for example, father with child(ren) and nonrelatives);
  (iii)
Two or more family nuclei related to each other plus other persons, some of whom are related to at least one of the nuclei and some of whom are not related to any of the nuclei, for example, two or more couples with other relatives and nonrelatives only;
  (iv)
Two or more family nuclei related to each other plus other persons, none of whom is related to any of the nuclei, for example, two or more married couples one or more of which with child(ren) and non-relatives;
  (v) Two or more family nuclei not related to each other, with or without any other persons;
  (vi) Two or more persons related to each other but none of whom constitute a family nucleus, plus other unrelated persons;
  (iv)
Non-related persons only;

 

  (e)

Other/Unknown.

C. Household and family status (para. 2.84.)

For purposes of determining household and family status and identifying how a person relates to other household or family members, persons may be classified according to their position in the household or family nucleus. Classifying persons according to household and family status has uses in social and demographic research and policy formulation.

Census data could be presented according to both household and family status for a variety of purposes. Although status itself is based on information derived from responses to the item on relationship to the head or other reference member of the household and other items, the classification of persons by their household and family status is a relatively new approach: it is a different approach from the traditional one of classifying household members solely according to their relationship to the head or reference person. The following household and family status classifications illustrate how such an approach may be used.

Persons are classified by household status as:

  1 Person in a household with at least one family
nucleus
    1.1
Husband  
    1.2 Wife  
    1.3 Lone mother  
    1.4 Lone father  
    1.5 Child living with both parents  
    1.6 Child living with lone mother  
    1.7 Child living with lone father  
    1.8 Not a member of a family nucleus  
      1.8.1 Living with relatives
1.8.2 Living with non-relatives
 
         
  2 Person in a household with no family nucleus
    2.1 Living alone  
    2.2 Living with others  
      2.2.1 Living with sibling(s)
2.2.2 Living with other relatives
2.2.3 Living with non-relatives
 
         
Persons are classified by family status as:
  1 Spouse  
    1.1 Husband  
      1.1.1 With child(ren)
1.1.2 Without child
 
    1.2 Wife  
      1.2.1 With child(ren)
1.2.2 Without child
 
         
  2 Lone parent  
      2.1 Male
2.2 Female
 
         
  3 Child  
    3.1 With both parents  
    3.2 With lone parent  
      3.2.1 With lone father
3.2.2 With lone mother
 
         
  4 Not member of a family nucleus  
    4.1 Relative of husband or wife  
      4.1.1 Parent of husband or wife
4.1.2 Sibling of husband or wife
4.1.3 Other relative of husband or wife
 
    4.2 Non-relative  

 

United Nations Statistics Division - Demographic and Social Statistics