- Questionnaire Text
- UnHarmonized Variables
Codes and Frequencies
RELATE reports an individual's relationship to the head of household or householder.
CPS interviewers collected detailed information about the precise relationships of all persons in the household in their initial listing of household members. Unfortunately, they then simplified the detailed data (e.g., daughter-in-law, lodger's brother) by coding it into a few broad categories (e.g., "other relative of head," "nonrelative of head with own relatives in household") specified on the interview form. Only the broad categories are preserved in the data. The 4-digit codes for RELATE are consistent with the coding scheme used in IPUMS-USA census data.
In the ASEC samples from the 1968-1975 period, some households had multiple heads listed. Where this was the case, we classified persons as:
- 1260 (other nonrelative) if individuals were identified as "secondary family" members on the CPS detailed relate codes; or
- 1260 (other nonrelative) if individuals were identified as members of a "subfamily -- unrelated individual" or as a "secondary individual 14+, in a household" on the CPS family type variable, and as the family head on the CPS detailed relate codes and the CPS collapsed relate codes.
Other households had no heads listed. In these cases, we classified persons as:
- 1260 (other nonrelative) if individuals resided in group quarters; or
- 0101 (head of household) if individuals were identified as "primary individual" in a household where no head had been identified.
In the 1968 ASEC, there remains one household made up of persons listed as "children of head," without any other household members. In this case, we retained the original values of the CPS relationship codes.
In the ASEC samples from 1962-1967, the "child" relationship was also recognized, but persons younger than age 14 were not included in the original CPS data. These same categories of "head," "wife," "child," "other relative," and "non-relative" persisted from 1976 to 1987, when children were included in the dataset and all persons were assigned some relationship to the householder.
In the ASEC samples from1988-1994, more detailed relationship categories were used for both relatives and non-relatives of the household head. The added categories "sibling," "parent," and "grandchild" considerably narrowed the scope of the residual "other relative" group, and "partner/roommate" and "foster child" similarly narrowed the meaning of "other non-relative." "Natural/adopted" children were distinguished from stepchildren for 1988-93 ASEC samples. For ASEC samples in the period 1995 forward, the "partner/roommate" category gave way to more precise relationship codes: "unmarried partner," "housemate," and "roomer/boarder."
Beginning in the 2019 ASEC, codes for same-sex spouses and same-sex unmarried partners are added. This change occurs in the Basic Monthly samples in January of 2020.
Because the number of relationship categories expands and contracts, the meanings of the residual categories "other relative" and "non-relative" are not constant. Analysts who wish to achieve comparability across ASEC samples for the whole period from 1962 forward must recode the data into a minimal number of categories: head, wife, other relative, and non-relative.
In Basic Monthly samples from January 1976-December 1988, there are some households which lack a head of household, but do have a wife of head. In these cases we retained the original values of the CPS relationship codes.
In Basic Monthly samples from January 1976-December 1981 persons younger than 14 years were not included in the original CPS data (except for in October samples from 1976 and 1977 which have an education supplement). In Basic Monthly samples from January 1982-December 1988, persons younger than 14 years of age are included in the original CPS data, however there is no "child" code for these samples; children are coded as "Other relative."
Comparability with IPUMS-USA
IPUMS-CPS uses the same coding scheme as IPUMS-USA, but the census and ACS data for every year include more categories. Thus, residual categories like "non-relative" and "other relative" refer to a much narrower range of relationships in the census than in the CPS, though the same numerical codes are used. Also, relationship codes for many group quarters members included in the census do not apply to the CPS, since the institutionalized population is excluded from the survey.
- 1962-1967 (ASEC): Persons age 14+ (pre-1968 samples do not include persons under age 14).
- 1968-1975 (ASEC): Civilians age 14+.
- 1976+ (ASEC): All persons.
- 1976+ (non-ASEC): All persons.
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