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About Families and Living Arrangements

Although terms like "families" and "households" are familiar to all of us, they are used in particular ways in Census Bureau products. See below for definitions of some commonly used terms.

Household:  an occupied housing unit.

Householder:  a person in whose name the housing unit is rented or owned. This person must be at least 15 years old.

Family household:  a household in which there is at least 1 person present who is related to the householder by birth, marriage or adoption.

Family:  in table titles, this term is used to refer to a family household. In general, family consists of those related to each other by birth, marriage or adoption.

Family group:  in CPS tables labeled as family groups, each married couple or parent/child group is counted separately, even if they reside in the same household. So, for example, if a household consists of a married couple, one of whom is the householder, and their adult daughter and her child, the married couple will be one family group, and the adult daughter and her child will be a second family group.

Subfamily:  a married couple or parent/child group that does not include the householder. Subfamilies may be related (meaning they are related to the householder) or unrelated (meaning they are unrelated to the householder).

Unmarried partners:  a couple who shares an intimate relationship. In decennial and ACS data, these couples always include the householder, since only relationship to the householder is collected. In CPS, and in some cases, SIPP data, these couples include those where neither partner is the householder.

Fact Sheets

Differences in the Marital Status Estimates from the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, and Decennial Census.

Differences in the Households and Family Estimates from the American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, and Decennial Census Participation, and Decennial Census.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Families and Living Arrangements |  Last Revised: 2012-11-13T16:33:47.688-05:00