The Development of Family Interrelationship Measures for International Census Data

Matthew Sobek, Sheela Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Population microdata are often organized into households, but taking fulladvantage of the hierarchical structure of the data requires identifying the specificfamily interrelationships among household members. Household relationships areexpressed relative to a single reference person and are often ambiguous forpersons outside the nuclear family. The International Integrated Public UseMicrodata Series (IPUMS-International) has developed consistent "pointer"variables for 115 census samples, identifying each person's mother, father andspouse. The database, with over 279 million person records, is freely availablefor downloading by researchers. Some countries collected pointer information asactual census questions, and the IPUMS pointers agree with these data 98% of thetime. Nevertheless, some household situations are more problematic than others,and there is variation in the source materials across countries. Although imperfect,by using these common tools researchers remove the possibility that differingresults across studies are an artifact of different linking procedures.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2010


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