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Mother's relationship to child (self-reported)

Codes and Frequencies

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PEMOMTYP is a variable that indicates whether a person's mother is a biological, step, or adoptive parent.

Since 2007, the CPS has collected detailed data on family relationships. If a household member resided with his or her mother, the interviewer recorded the mother's line number (PELNMOM) and whether the mother is a biological, step, or adoptive parent (PEMOMTYP). Similar data were collected for fathers (PELNDAD and PEDADTYP). Spouses (ASPOUSE) and cohabiting partners (PECOHAB) are also identified.

These variables are reported as is and may need additional cleaning by researchers. IPUMS-CPS plans to test these variables in the future and will revise them if necessary. In particular, when a child resides with one biological parent and that parent's cohabiting partner, the child is usually reported to live with only one parent. Researchers can use the information on the father's cohabiting partner (PECOHAB) to identify those cohabiting stepmothers who are not included in PELNMOM and PEMOMTYP. Married stepmothers are always identified by PELNMOM and PEMOMTYP.

The IPUMS-CPS includes the constructed variable STEPMOM which reports whether the person identified as a mother in MOMLOC is probably a stepmother on the basis of age-differences, relationship to household head, and other available information. Many stepmothers cannot be identified in this way and STEPMOM will always underestimate the true number of stepmothers. In years when both are available, PEMOMTYP should be more accurate than STEPMOM.


PEMOMTYP is consistent in all years for which it is available.

Comparability with IPUMS-USA

No self-reported family relationship variables are available in IPUMS-USA.


  • All persons.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2007 – 2018 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
2019 X X - X X X X X X X - - -