Relationship to household reference person (Person 1)

Part A - Short definition:

Refers to the question about the relationship of household members to the first person reported on the questionnaire for the household, called Person 1.

Part B - Detailed definition:

Refers to the question about the relationship of household members to the first person reported on the questionnaire for the household, called Person 1. A household member may be related to Person 1 through blood, marriage, common-law, adoption or a foster relationship or unrelated (e.g., lodger, room-mate or employee). This question is used to obtain information on families, as well as the family characteristics of individuals.

Census years:

2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971

Reported for:

Total population

Question number(s):

Direct variable: Question 6

Responses:

Person 1; Opposite-sex husband or wife; Opposite-sex common-law partner; Same-sex married spouse; Same-sex common-law partner; Son or daughter of Person 1 only; Son or daughter of both Persons 1 and 2; Son or daughter of Person 2 only; Son-in-law or daughter-in-law; Grandchild; Father or mother; Father-in-law or mother-in-law; Brother or sister; Foster child; Room-mate, lodger or boarder; Other – SpecifyFootnote 1

Remarks:

Three different categories for son or daughter allow information on stepchildren to be captured. Prior to 2011, there was a single response category, 'Son or daughter of Person 1'.

As of the 2011 Census, 'Foster child' is a response category.

As of the 2011 Census, there are two response categories for married spouse of Person 1 to distinguish between opposite-sex and same-sex married spouses. In the 2006 Census, information on opposite-sex and same-sex married spouses was obtained from the responses to 'Husband or wife of Person 1' in conjunction with responses to sex (Question 2). In addition, 'same-sex married spouse' was included as an example for the write-in category of 'Other – Specify'.

As of the 2001 Census, there are two response categories for common-law partner of Person 1, to distinguish between opposite-sex and same-sex common-law partners.

In the 1996, 2001 and 2006 censuses, the write-in responses for the category 'Other – Specify' on the short questionnaire were not coded to the appropriate detailed relationship value, but were classified as 'other' relationships. Only write-in responses from the long questionnaire (20% sample) were fully coded. As a result, family characteristics are available only for the 20% sample for those years.

Regarding the order in which to list household members on the questionnaire, there is an instruction to 'begin the list with an adult followed, if applicable, by that person's spouse or common-law partner and by their children'. Previous wording of the instruction in the census has varied, but the meaning has stayed the same. One exception is that in 1971, Person 1, then called the 'head of household', was defined as 'the husband rather than the wife' in a married couple. In 1976, this was changed to 'either the husband or the wife'.

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