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Codes and Frequencies

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GQ classifies all housing units as falling into one of three main categories: households, group quarters, or vacant units. In all years, the data available about a person and their co-residents depend on whether the person lives in a household or in group quarters. Households are sampled as units, meaning that everyone in the household is included in the sample, and most household-level variables are available. People living in group quarters are generally sampled as individuals; other people in their unit may or may not be included in the sample, and there is no way of linking co-residents' records to one another. Most household-level variables are not available for group quarters or for vacant units.


The data are generally comparable over time.

From 1968 to 1982, group quarters refers to living arrangements for institutional arrangements regardless of the number of inmates, or housing units containing five or more people unrelated to the person in charge. As of 1983, group quarters were defined in the CPS as non-institutional living arrangements for groups not living in conventional housing units or groups living in housing units containing ten or more unrelated people or nine or more people unrelated to the person in charge. Examples of people in group quarters include a person residing in a rooming house, in staff quarters at a hospital, or in a halfway house. Each person in group quarters is by definition a person living with non-relatives.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

GQ is fully comparable with the GQ variable in the IPUMS census and ACS samples.


  • All households and group quarters.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1968 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.

Unharmonized Variables