Income Data for Policy Analysis: A Comparative Assessment of Eight Surveys. Family definition and relationship detail


Five of the eight surveys utilize family definitions that deviate from the CPS family concept that is incorporated into the official measure of poverty in the United States, and we have noted (p. 24) differences among the eight surveys in the level of detail with which they capture family relationships. It is important to understand that broadening the family concept from the CPS concept has an impact on estimates of family income and the incidence of poverty. Here we develop estimates of the impact of deviations from the CPS family definition on estimates of the poor and their characteristics and on the distribution of family income. Following that we assess the implications of the ACS’s not collecting relationship information among persons who are unrelated to the household head.

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