Census family status of person

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on October 22, 2007.


Census family status refers to whether or not the person is a member of a census family and, if so, his or her status in that census family, either as a member of a couple, as a lone parent or as a child.

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programmes.


'Census family status of person' is derived from the responses to questions about the relationships among the people who live in the household.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard conforms to the recommendations for censuses contained in the United Nations' "Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2", 2008. In its discussion of family status, the UN recommends classifying persons as Spouse, Lone parent, Child or Not member of a family nucleus. This matches the classification for this standard, with some terminological differences, including those necessitated by the inclusion of common-law couples.

This standard is also compatible with the "Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing", 2006 which recommended classifying persons living in families as Partner, Lone parent or Child, and distinguishing at the more detailed level between member of a married couple and partner in a consensual union.


Relation to previous version

  • Census family status of person October 22, 2007 to current

    November 16, 2015 - Some category labels in the classifications have been updated.

    October 22, 2007 - This standard reflects the current definition of Census family. The current classification lists "spouse" and "common-law partner" separately. The new terminology, "Person not in a census family", has replaced "Non-census family person" in the previous standard.

  • Census family status July 15, 1998 to October 21, 2007
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