Conjugal status of couple family

Status: This standard was replaced by the 'Conjugal status of couple' as of on October 19, 2015.


Conjugal status refers to the nature of the relationship between the members of a couple. Specifically, it indicates whether the members of a couple are legally married to each other or whether they are living in a common-law relationship. When applied to a person, conjugal status refers to whether a person aged 15 or over is living with a person of the opposite or same sex as a spouse or common-law partner. When applied to a couple family, it refers to the nature of the relationship between the members of the couple in a census family or, in the case of an economic family, the nature of the relationship between the economic family reference person and his or her spouse or partner.

Couple family refers to a family that contains a married or common-law couple. A couple may be of opposite or same sex.

In economic families, a couple family is a family where the reference person has a legally married spouse or common-law partner in the family (regardless of whether or not the reference person also has children).


'Conjugal status of couple family' is derived. It is obtained by combining information about the legal marital status and the common-law status of the person or the members of the couple.

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, 2007. The UN recommendations include a classification of nuclear households (those consisting entirely of a single family nucleus) which includes the distinction between married-couple families and those containing partners in a consensual union. This is the focus of 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.


Additional information


Relation to previous version

  • Conjugal status of couple family October 22, 2007 to October 18, 2015

    'Conjugal status of couple family' was incorporated within the classification of the previous standard, 'Census family marital 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 marital structure July 15, 1998 to October 21, 2007
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