CPS-2017 Relationship to Household Head Response Category Change


I had heard the question responses to the relationship to the household head question have changed in the CPS as of 2017. I reviewed the CPS March Supplement questionnaire (here: https://www2.census.gov/programs-surv…) and the anticiapted question responses were there…

S_RRP How (are / is) (name/you) related to (reference person’s name/you)?

42 Opposite-sex Spouse (Husband/Wife)

43 Opposite-sex Unmarried Partner

44 Same-sex Spouse (Husband/Wife)

45 Same-sex Unmarried Partner

46 Child

47 Grandchild

48 Parent (Mother/Father)

49 Brother/Sister

50 Other relative (A

51 Foster_Child

52 Housemate/Roommate

53 Roomer/Boarder 54 Other nonrelative

HOWEVER, when I look at the data (both via the Census and IPUMS-CPS), the categories do not mirror the questionnaire. Will the response categories in the questionnaire and data release eventually be consistent? If yes, is there an estimated time/year? I know the response categories are changing across multiple Census data projects/surveys, but at different time points…didn’t know if Census was going to wait until all data projects/surveys were using the same response categories to change the format of the data release?

Any info would be helpful–thanks, much!

~Krista K. Payne


Although new categories have been fielded, starting in 2017, these new categories are not currently included in the public use microdata files. There is no commitment, from the Census Bureau, when these new categories will become available. The best I can say is perhaps 2019, but it is difficult to know with certainty.

Some more information can be found in this Census presentation:


According to slide 16, we likely will see the new edits in the 2018 ASEC (released by Census in September this year).