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Census 2000 Brief: Households and Families: 2000

Written by:
Report Number C2KBR/01-8

Census 2000 enumerated 281.4 million people, of whom 273.6 million were living in 105.5 million households.1 The majority of these households (52 percent) were maintained by married couples (54.5 million) while the second most common type of household (26 percent) consisted of people living alone (27.2 million). This report presents information on the number and types of living arrangements derived from the item on the Census 2000 questionnaire that asked about the relationship to the householder.

The relationship item, which has been on the census since 1880, asks how each member of the household is related to the householder. This item gives us information both about individuals and the makeup of families and households. In 1990, the categories of “unmarried partner,” “adopted child,” “step child,” “foster child,” and “grandchild” were added to the relationship item to measure the growing complexity of American households.

Two additional categories were added to the question in Census 2000 to further measure household composition — “parent-in-law” and “son/daughter-in-law.” Finally, people who wrote in responses “brother/sister-in-law,” “nephew/niece,” “grandparent,” “uncle/aunt,” or “cousin” were also coded into separate categories instead of remaining in the “other relative” category as in previous censuses.

1 The remaining 7.8 million people lived in group quarters (such as correctional institutions, nursing homes, and college dormitories), and not in households. (www.census.gov/population/cen2000/grpqtr/grpqtr01.pdf)


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