Sex of reference person of lone-parent family

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on November 16, 2015.


Sex of reference person refers to the sex of the family reference person. The family reference person is determined through procedures specific to each survey.

Lone-parent family refers to families containing only one parent with his or her child(ren).


In a lone-parent family, the reference person is the parent.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard is compatible with the recommendations for censuses contained in the United Nations' "Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2", 2008. The UN recommendations include a classification of nuclear households (those consisting entirely of a single family nucleus) which includes the distinction between lone-parent families containing a father with child(ren) and lone-parent families containing a mother with child(ren). This is the distinction expressed in this standard.

This standard is also compatible with the "Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing", 2006 which recommended classification distinctions similar to those in the UN recommendations.


Relation to previous version

  • Sex of reference person of lone-parent family November 16, 2015 to current

    The previous standard for "Sex of reference person of census family" is superseded by this standard.

  • Sex of reference person of census family October 22, 2007 to November 15, 2015

    'Sex of reference person of census family' is incorporated within the classifications of two previous standards, 'Census family marital structure' and 'Census family parental structure'. The current standards take a more simplified approach, presenting each classification dimension as a separate concept. This approach provides greater conceptual and definitional clarity while simultaneously allowing users more flexibility in constructing whatever more complex, multidimensional classifications meet their needs for data presentation.

  • Census family parental structure July 15, 1998 to October 21, 2007
  • Census family marital structure July 15, 1998 to October 21, 2007
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