NCOUPLES counts unmarried partners?


I have basic questions about NCOUPLES. While I was working to construct a variable that indicates if a family is single-headed or two-headed using NCOUPLES, I noticed that some families with unmarried partners are coded as 1 in NCOUPLES (attached a screenshot of my data). This seems different from the description of the variable, which is the number of married couples within each unit.

Does NCOUPLES also count unmarried partners as couples? It would be greatly appreciated if you could clarify this.

Also, I wanted to ask whether the “unit” in the description means family or household.

Thank you so much!

NCOUPLES is constructed based on SPLOC, which counts unmarried partners of the householder as spouses (note: SPLOC only counts unmarried partners of the householder as spouses; other pairings, in which neither member of the couple is the householder, must have both partners married in order to be linked by SPLOC).

Regarding the usage of “unit,” it refers to “housing unit” a.k.a. household.

I agree that the documentation of this variable could be clarified, and I will bring these issues up to the IPUMS CPS team.