Status:Closed    Asked:Mar 28, 2018 - 03:20 PM

definition of householder in CPS

I am trying to pin down the definition of "householder" in CPS. In the FAMREL variable description, IPUMS includes the following definition:

"Each CPS household has one person designated as the householder, who is the person in whose name the housing unit is rented or owned."

In a technical notes document on the BLS site (, they include the following description:

"A householder is the person (or one of the persons) in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented. The term is never applied to either husbands or wives in married-couple families but relates only to persons in families maintained by either men or women without a spouse."

This definition makes it seem like householder only applies to some households - can you help clarify this difference in the definition? How is the identity of the householder determined in IPUMS CPS? Also, if there is more than one name on a lease, how would the primary renter be determined?



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Staff Answer

The codebooks for each sample provide a bit more information. For example, in the 2017 ASEC codebook, in the glossary on page 9-3, there are definitions for a household as well as a householder, which include the following details:

If there is no person in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented, the householder refers to any adult member (excluding roomers, boards, or paid employees). If house is owned or rented jointly by a married couple, the householder may be either the husband or the wife. In all cases, the person designated as the householder on the file is the "reference person" on the control card to whom the relationship of all other household members, if any, is recorded.

In IPUMS CPS, we have several technical household variables as well as person level variables that can help you determine who the reference person was. For example, LINENO indicates the numbered line on which the CPS interviewer recorded a household member's name, on the control card, when the interviewer drew up the roster of all household members.


Mar 30, 2018 - 08:58 AM

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