The Development of Family Interrelationship Measures for International Census Data

Matthew Sobek, University of Minnesota

Population microdata are often organized into households, but taking full advantage of the hierarchical structure of the data requires identifying the specific family interrelationships among household members. Household relationships are expressed relative to a single reference person and are often ambiguous for persons outside the nuclear family. The International Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-International) has developed consistent "pointer" variables for 115 census samples, identifying each person's mother, father and spouse. The database, with over 279 million person records, is freely available for downloading by researchers. Some countries collected pointer information as actual census questions, and the IPUMS pointers agree with these data 98% of the time. 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 differing results across studies are an artifact of different linking procedures.

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Presented in Poster Session 4