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Codes and Frequencies

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HIURULE is provided by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota. HIURULE is an indicator of the assignment rule used to assign each individual to a "health insurance unit" (HIU). HIUs are uniquely identified by HIUID.

Health insurance coverage, whether through an employer or a public program, is often based on family relationships. An individual with access to employer-sponsored coverage may be able to cover his or her spouse and children through that policy. Public coverage often considers family ties in determining program eligibility, especially for children and families. Many analysts and researchers have adopted the use of a "health insurance unit" (HIU) in studying insurance coverage so as to focus on those individuals who would likely be considered a "family unit" in determining eligibility for either private or public coverage.

The SHADAC HIU aims to capture the key components of both "public" and "private" HIUs in a single measure. The HIU definition is implemented with the following assignment rules:

  • Married couples, regardless of age, with no children of their own living with them are assigned to their own HIU;
  • Single or married parents, regardless of age, along with their eligible children;
  • Eligible children with no parent in their household, but who are related to the household reference person, are placed in the first HIU in the household; are assigned to an HIU;
  • Eligible children with no parent in the household and who are not related to the household reference person are placed in their own HIU.

Eligible children are children under age 19 who are not married and have no children of their own. The HIU is constructed using the following IPUMS variables: SERIAL, PERNUM, RELATE, AGE, SEX, MARST, MOMLOC, POPLOC, SPLOC, and NCHILD.

Code 50 (Point single adults to self) is defined as single, spouse absent, separated, divorced, widowed and no own children in household.

Code 60 (Point related singleton children to first HIU reference person in household) is defined as no parents in household, but related to the reference person.

For more information, see Key Resources for SHADAC’s HIUs and "Defining Family for Studies of Health Insurance Coverage". Stata code is also available so that analysts who choose to can easily modify the HIU definition.


In 2017, SHADAC introduced code to identify same-sex couples. As a result, the category "Point married female, with spouse present, to spouse" was changed to "Point married person, with spouse present, to spouse." Moreover, the categories "Point eligible child to father, if present" and "Point eligible child to mother, if present and father absent" were collapsed to "Point eligible child to parent, if present." To maintain the detail of earlier coding, IPUMS-CPS expanded the HIURULE variable.

In 2020, SHADAC revised its definition of health insurance units to take changes in eligibility for various insurance programs and updated coding of family relationships in federal surveys. For more information on these updates and the reasons behind them, see "2020 Update of SHADAC's Health Insurance Unit."

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

This variable is comparable with IPUMS-USA.


  • All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1988 – 2023 - - X - - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.

Unharmonized Variables

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