Role in Family ATUS / CPS Variable

I’m working with ATUS and would like to check whether there is a variable or some way in which I might be able to identify the role of the person in the household (e.g. household head, spouse of household head). In particular, I’m interested in determining whether the entries for the time use data are by parents of the children in the household.

Based on my understanding (and perhaps I am misinformed), only the ATUS respondents have time use data. Are all these respondents considered heads of their households? If not, is there a way in which I might be able to identify what role they play in their households?

Thank you very much in advance.

You are correct that only one person (e.g., the ATUS respondent) completes the time use diary within each household. The ATUS respondent is a randomly selected individual within each household who is 15 years old or older. You can read more about the sampling of the ATUS in the User Guide. Depending on your ultimate purpose, however, the RELATE variable may have the information you are looking for. This variable describes the relationship of individuals within the household to the ATUS respondent. You will need to select the “respondents and household members” radio button on the top of the page. Otherwise only respondents (indicated by RELATE==“self”) will show up. Of course, these other household members will not have time use variable responses.

Thank you for your reply.

I understand that only the respondents (indicated by RELATE == “self”) have their time use recorded. Is there a way in which I might be able to determine whether these respondents are parents of the children in the household? Or what role they have in their household (e.g. child, grandparent etc.)? To provide some context, thus far I have been looking at the Time Use >> BLS Published Tables variables and generating a rectangular (person) data structure.

Else, is there a way in which I might be able to collect a measure of the time which respondents (who are parents) spend with their children from the sample? Maybe by using a different data structure? Or by combining different data sets? I would like to have the time use variables and certain demographic variables.

As long as I am understanding correctly, I think both of these tasks are possible. First, you can use the family interrelationship variables to identify if an individual is a parent or a child of other individuals within the household. Some of these variables come from the ATUS raw data and some are derived via IPUMS programming. Second, there are a number of who activity variables that aim to identify who else was present during the activity. Specifically, the RELATEW and RELATEWU variables may help you in this task.

Thank you for your reply.

Currently, I’ve been working with the hierarchical data structure. I aggregated the amount of time which respondents spent with their “own household children” using the RELATEW/RELATEWU variable. May I safely assume that these “own household children” are the respondents’ own children?

Else, is there an alternative means through which I may be able to determine the time which respondents spent with their own children?

This may depend on your working definition of “own children.” If your definition of “own children” includes any biological child, adopted child, or step child who lives most of their time within the respondent’s household, then I’d say you are safe to assume that “own household children” are respondent’s own children. If you use a more narrow definition of “own children,” such as only biological children, then I am not aware of any information in the ATUS data that can cleanly identify this concept.