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Classification and coding process

Classification criteria

The family type classification has three levels.

The criterion used to place a family nucleus into level 1 of the classification is the type of relationship between the people in the family nucleus.

At level 2 of the classification, 'couple with children' and 'one parent with children' families are classified according to the types of children (birth/biological, adopted, step-, grand- or other children) in the family nucleus.

At level 3 of the classification, 'step-families' are classified according to whether or not there are birth/biological or adopted children of both partners in the couple.

The four classifications identifying the different types of children included in a family nucleus, have one level.

For the 'family nucleus containing birth/biological, adopted children', the criteria for inclusion is whether or not the family nucleus contains at least one identified usually resident birth/biological or adopted child.

For the 'family nucleus containing step-children', the criteria for inclusion is whether or not the family nucleus contains at least one identified usually resident step-child.

For the 'family nucleus containing grandparents in a parent role', the criteria for inclusion is whether or not the family nucleus contains at least one identified usually resident grandparent in a parent role.

For the 'family nucleus containing other children', the criteria for inclusion is whether or not the family nucleus contains at least one identified usually resident 'other' child.

Classification

Family type classification

Family type is a hierarchical classification with three levels. Level 1 of the classification has three categories. Level 2 of the classification has 10 categories, and level 3 has 12 categories. The maximum code length is three characters.

The criteria for inclusion in each category of the classification are shown in detail below.

Level 1

Couple without children

A couple without children usually living together in a household.

Couple with child(ren)

A couple with child(ren), all of whom have usual residence together in the same household. The children do not have a partner or child(ren) of their own living in the household.

One parent with child(ren)

One parent with child(ren), all of whom have usual residence together in the same household. The children do not have partners or children of their own living in the household.

Level 2

Couple with birth/biological, adopted children

A couple family containing at least one child who is the birth/biological or adopted child of both partners in the couple, and no step children, all of whom must have usual residence in the same household. The children do not have partners or children of their own living in the household. ‘Couple with birth/biological, adopted children’ families may contain, but do not have to include ‘grandchildren’ and ‘other children’.

Step-family

A couple family containing at least one step-child and which may or may not include birth/biological, adopted children of both partners in the couple. All family members must have usual residence in the same household. If the step-parent adopts the step-child, the resulting family is no longer a step-family. ‘Step-families’ may contain, but do not have to include ‘grandchildren’ and ‘other children’.

Couple with grandchildren

A couple family containing at least one child who is the grandchild of at least one of the partners in the couple and no birth/biological, adopted or step children of either partner in the couple. Grandparents and grandchildren must have usual residence in the same household. The grandchild does not usually reside with their parent(s) (birth/biological, adopted, step) and does not have a partner or child of their own living in the household. ‘Couple with grandchildren’ families may contain, but do not have to include ‘other children’.

Couple with other children only

A couple family, with one or more children, none of whom is the birth/biological, adopted, step-, or grandchild of either partner in the couple, e.g. foster children, children under guardianship, otherwise related or unrelated children. They must all have usual residence in the same household. The child(ren) do not have partners or child(ren) of their own living in the household and do not usually reside with their parent(s) or grandparent(s) (birth/biological, adopted or step).

One parent with birth/biological, adopted children

One parent with at least one child who is the birth/biological or adopted child of the parent, all of whom have usual residence together in the same household. The children do not have partners or children of their own living in the household. ‘One parent with birth/biological, adopted children’ families may contain, but do not have to include ‘grandchildren’ and ‘other children’.

One parent with grandchild(ren)

A one parent family containing at least one grandchild of the grandparent, and no birth/biological, adopted or step-children of the grandparent. The grandparent and grandchild(ren) must have usual residence together in the same household. The grandchildren do not usually reside with their parent(s) (birth/biological, adopted, step) and do not have a partner or child of their own living in the household. ‘One parent with grandchild(ren)’ families may contain, but do not have to include ‘other children’.

One parent with other children only

A one parent family containing one 'person in a parent role' and at least one 'other child', none of whom is the birth/biological, adopted, step- or grandchild of the 'person in a parent role', all of whom must have usual residence in the same household. The children do not have partners or children of their own living in the household and do not usually reside with their parent(s) or grandparent(s) (birth/biological or adopted).

Level 3

Blended step-family

A couple family, with two or more children, where at least one child is a step-child of one member of the couple and at least one child is the birth/biological or adopted child of both members of the couple. All family members must have usual residence in the same household. The children do not have a partner or children of their own living in the household. Blended step-families may contain, but do not have to include ‘grandchildren’ and ‘other children’.

Non-blended step-family

A couple family containing at least one step-child and no birth/biological or adopted child(ren) of both partners in the couple. All family members must have usual residence in the same household. If the step-parent adopts the step-child(ren) the resulting family is no longer a step-family. ‘Non-blended step-families’ may contain, but do not have to include ‘grandchildren’ and ‘other children’.

For more information see the glossary.

'nfd' (not further defined) codes are included in family type for responses containing insufficient detail to be classified at level 2 or 3, but which can still be classified to a less detailed level 1 or level 2 category. The category 'couple with children nfd' should be used to classify families that contain a couple with children, but where there is insufficient information to derive further detail. The category 'one parent with children nfd' should be used to classify families that contain one parent with children, but where there is insufficient information to derive further detail. The category 'step family nfd' should be used when it is unclear whether there are any birth/biological children of both partners in the couple in the family nucleus.

Types of children in a family nucleus classifications

The four classifications are flat classifications. Each of the classifications has three categories. The maximum code length is one character.

The residual categories are defined in Glossary and references.

The full classification is available in the 'Available files' section on the main page.

Coding process

Family type is a derived variable. The process for deriving family type is survey-specific. For example, the Census of Population and Dwellings derives family type from the following variables:

A sample survey may derive family type from the following variables:

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