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Classification and coding process

Classification criteria

This classification has three levels.

The criterion used to place a household into level 1 of the classification is the number of family nuclei present, or if no family nuclei are present, then the number of people present.

At level 2 of the classification, 'one-family households' are classified according to family type, and whether there are other people (who are not in the family nucleus) present. For 'two-family households' in which both families contain children, the criterion is the number of parents in each family. 'Two-family households' that contain at least one ‘couple-only’ family are not classified to the same level of detail as 'two-family households' in which both families contain children.

At level 3 of the classification the criterion for classifying 'one-family households' is whether the other people present are related or unrelated to the family nucleus. In 'two-family households', the criterion for classification at level 3 is whether the families are related or unrelated.

For 'multi-person households' with no family nuclei present, the criterion used at levels 2 and 3 of the classification is whether usually resident people are related, unrelated, or a mixture of both.

Classification

Household composition is a hierarchical classification with three levels. Level 1 of the classification has six categories. Level 2 of the classification has 19 categories, and level 3 has 31 categories.

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

The category 'one-family household nfd' should be used to classify households that contain one family nucleus, but which cannot be derived in further detail. The category 'two-family household nfd' should be used to classify households that contain two family nuclei where the exact composition of one or both family nuclei is unclear. 'Two-family households' where at least one family is a couple-only family are coded to the category 'other 2-family household'. Please note that the 'other 2-family household' category contains the following households:

  • two couple-only families
  • one couple-only family and one 2-parent family
  • one couple-only family and one 1-parent family.

The categories 'two 2-parent families nfd', 'one 2-parent family and a 1-parent family nfd' and 'two 1-parent families nfd' should be used when the relationship between the two family nuclei is unknown.

The category 'other multi-person household nfd' should be used when a household has two or more people, and no family nuclei have been identified, but it is unclear whether the people are related, or unrelated, or both.

The terms related (and unrelated) are used in three ways in the household composition classification. Firstly, in categories such as 'household of related people', related refers to two or more people who have a familial relationship, as defined in Operational issues and Glossary and references. Secondly, related is used to describe the relationship between a person and a family nucleus in categories such as 'couple only and other person(s), some or all related'. The meaning here is that one or more of the other people is related to at least one person in the couple. Thirdly, related is used to describe the relationship between two family nuclei, such as 'two related 2-parent families'. This means at least one person in the first family nucleus is related to at least one person in the second family nucleus.

The term 'other person(s)', as used in the household composition classification, refers to people who are living in a household where there is at least one family nucleus, but where the 'other person(s)' are not included in the family nucleus. For example a 'couple with child(ren) and other person(s)' household includes a family nucleus, consisting of a couple and their child(ren), and at least one other person who is outside this family nucleus for example a grandparent, uncle, aunt or other relative to any person in the family nucleus, or a flatmate, border or other unrelated individual. 'Other person(s)' can be related or unrelated to the family nucleus.

The residual category ‘household composition unidentifiable’ should be used to classify households for which there is inconsistent or insufficient data to derive household composition.

'nfd' (not further defined) codes are included in household composition 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 residual categories are defined in Glossary and references.

Coding process

Household composition is a derived variable. The process for deriving household composition is survey specific. For example, the Census of Population and Dwellings derives household composition from the following variables:

A sample survey may derive household composition from the following variables:

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