American Community Survey

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Why We Ask Questions About...
Family / Relationship to Householder

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Question as it appears on the form

We ask one question about the relationship of each person to a central person in the household.

Results from this question

The results from this question are compiled to provide communities with important statistics to help plan assistance programs. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.

United States

View Results for a State

View Results for a County or City / Town in (↑ change state using menu above ↑)

Relationship data help communities:

Provide Assistance to Families

We ask about family relationships, ages of children, household income, and health insurance status to help communities:

  • Enroll eligible families in programs designed to assist them, such as Head Start and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • Qualify for grants to fund these programs.
  • Evaluate programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Understand Changing Households

We ask about relationship to householder to create statistics on living arrangements and how they are changing. This helps communities plan future programs and services for residents by considering whether older residents are staying in their homes as they age, whether young people are living with parents or moving in with roommates, and which kinds of households include young children. For example, the Social Security Administration estimates future program needs based on the current relationships of working people.

History of relationship to householder question

The relationship to householder question originated with the 1880 Census. It was added to the ACS in 2005 when it replaced the decennial census long form. The question was modified in 2019. Research about this modification and copies of previous questionnaires are available on the ACS website.


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