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Living Arrangements of Children: 2001

Report Number P70-104
Rose M. Kreider and Jason Fields


Children live in a variety of family arrangements that usually reflect the marriage, divorce, and remarriage patterns of their parents. In addition, one-third of children today are born out-of-wedlock and may grow up in single-parent families or spend significant portions of their lives with other relatives or stepparents.1 This report examines the diversity of children’s living arrangements in American households.2 The data are from the household relationship module of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) collected in 2001 and update an earlier study from the 1996 SIPP panel of children growing up in various family situations.3

Detailed information was obtained on each person’s relationship to every other person in the household, permitting the identification of various types of relatives and of parent-child and sibling relationships. This report describes extended family households with relatives and nonrelatives (whose presence may affect a child’s development and contribute to the household’s economic well-being). It also examines the degree to which children are living in single-parent families or with stepparents, adoptive parents, or no parents while in the care of another relative or guardian.

The statistics in this report are based on national-level estimates of children and their living situations from June through September 2001. The findings pertain to all individuals under age 18, regardless of their marital or parental status. The estimates represent data on the living arrangements for children averaged over this 4-month period.

1 “The Council of Economic Advisers on the Changing American Family,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2000, pp. 617-628.

2 The data in this report were collected from June through September of 2001 in the second wave (interview) of the 2001 Survey of Income and Program Participation. The population represented (the population universe) is the civilian noninstitutionalized population under 18 living in the United States. Detailed tables for this report can be accessed on the Census Bureau Web site at <>.

3 Jason Fields, Living Arrangements of Children: 1996, Current Population Reports, P70-74, Washington, DC, U.S. Census Bureau, 2001.


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