Person Number of Spouse

In CPS ASEC I can see some individuals with a person number of spouse indicating that there is a spouse but marital status indicating that the person is not married.

I was wondering what type of relationship person number of spouse should capture. Should it only capture married individuals or also non-married individuals (e.g. cohabitating individuals)? The description of person number of spouse does not provide a definition of a “spouse”. The description of rule for linking spouse also does not provide a definition but calls it “spouse/partner”.

I am asking this question because I am trying to estimate tax liability of an individual and would like to know if I can assume that every person for whom the location of a spouse indicates that there is a spouse can be treated as married for tax purposes?

This family interrelationship page provides more detail on SPLOC, which was created by IPUMS to help better identify spouses and partners over time. In particular, the page notes that SPLOC “links married and cohabiting relationships for same-sex and opposite-sex couples.” It is therefore not the case that every person who has a non-zero value for SPLOC is necessarily married. Specifically, if an individual has RELATE = 1116 or 1117, then that unmarried cohabiting partner and the householder will be linked through SPLOC with an SPRULE value beginning with 2. Those are the only cases where an unmarried individual should have a nonzero value for SPLOC.