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MARST
Marital status

Description

MARST gives each person's current marital status.

Codes and Frequencies



Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes

Comparability

"Married, spouse absent" is consistently imposed via programming for all years in the IPUMS, using the SPLOC variable. The category "separated" was added in 1950, at which time "single" was renamed "never married." Prior to 1950, persons in the "separated" category would probably have been in "married, spouse absent." Analyses using the 1940-1950 period should probably combine these two categories.

In the IPUMS, all persons under age 12 are coded as "never married/single" for the years 1880-1930, though these censuses did not impose a minimum age.

Persons to whom the question did not apply (N/A) are coded as never married/single in all years.

In the Puerto Rican samples, consensual marriages are counted as married in MARST. A separate variable, CONMARST, is also available for the 1910-1920 and 1970-1990 Puerto Rican samples, which distinguishes between those married persons, (code "1" only in MARST for the 1910-1920 samples), (codes "1" or "2" in MARST for the 1970-1990 samples) who are consensually married.

Note regarding Same-Sex Marriage: The 2013 ACS sample represents the first unedited inclusion of same-sex married couples, however these couples are only identifiable if one of the partners is the Householder (see SSMC). Same-sex married couples that do not include the Householder may still be listed as "Married," but due to the programming used to distinguish between "Married, spouse present" and "Married, spouse absent" all of these couples will be identified as "Married, spouse absent." Researchers wishing to identify non-Householder same-sex married couples are advised to aggregate "Married, spouse present" and "Married, spouse absent" into a single "Married" category and use the RELATE to identify couples residing in houses together.

User Note: In the 2000 census samples, the MARST variable appears to overstate the incidence of marriage for persons living in group quarters (for more information on group quarters, see the GQ variable description). Among group quarters cases from the 2000 5% sample, for instance, 20% of persons aged 18 and under are coded as being married. In group quarters in other census years, and in the non-group quarters population in 2000, less than 1% of persons aged 18 and under are married. The QMARST variable does not indicate that these data were edited by the Census Bureau. This problem appears to affect the 2000 5% sample, the 1% weighted sample, and 1% unweighted sample. Please use this data cautiously.

Universe

  • 1880-1930, 1940 100%: Persons age 12+.
  • 1940 - 1970: Persons age 14+.
  • 1980 - 2000: Persons age 15+.
  • ACS, PRCS: Persons age 15+.

Availability

United States
  • 2017: All samples
  • 2016: All samples
  • 2015: All samples
  • 2014: All samples
  • 2013: All samples
  • 2012: All samples
  • 2011: All samples
  • 2010: ACS; ACS 3yr; ACS 5yr
  • 2009: All samples
  • 2008: All samples
  • 2007: All samples
  • 2006: All samples
  • 2005: All samples
  • 2004: All samples
  • 2003: All samples
  • 2002: All samples
  • 2001: All samples
  • 2000: All samples
  • 1990: All samples
  • 1980: All samples
  • 1970: All samples
  • 1960: All samples
  • 1950: All samples
  • 1940: All samples
  • 1930: All samples
  • 1920: All samples
  • 1910: All samples
  • 1900: All samples
  • 1880: All samples
  • 1870: --
  • 1860: --
  • 1850: --
Puerto Rico
  • 2017: All samples
  • 2016: All samples
  • 2015: All samples
  • 2014: All samples
  • 2013: All samples
  • 2012: All samples
  • 2011: All samples
  • 2010: PRCS; PRCS 3yr; PRCS 5yr
  • 2009: All samples
  • 2008: All samples
  • 2007: All samples
  • 2006: All samples
  • 2005: All samples
  • 2000: All samples
  • 1990: All samples
  • 1980: All samples
  • 1970: All samples
  • 1930: All samples
  • 1920: All samples
  • 1910: All samples

Flags

QMARST 

Editing Procedure


RELATE (Relationship to reference person) and MARST (Marital status)

ACS Years: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

ACS editing procedure:

Note: There is an important change in 2013 in how the ACS addressed same-sex couples. The detailed editing and allocation process is described below. To briefly summarize: prior to 2013, RELATE and MARST would be edited to not include same-sex married couples. In 2013, same-sex married couples were included in the ACS and these editing rules were removed. Beginning in 2014, two parents and/or parents-in-law of the same sex were also allowed.

Note: The editing procedure for relationship to the reference person (RELATE) and marital status (MARST) in part depend on the original order of people in the household. This information is not available in public use data.

If a person is living in a 1-person household and their marital status (MARST) is missing, it will be allocated from another person in a 1-person household of the same sex (SEX) and similar age (AGE). When this happens, the flag variable will indicate the value of MARSTwas allocated (QMARST).

If there is someone in the household who is older than 14 (AGE), is the spouse of the reference person (RELATE), is a different sex than the reference person (only applies prior to 2013), but the reference person's marital status is missing or something other than "Married", the reference person's marital status will be changed to "Married." When this happens, the flag variable will indicate the value of MARST was allocated (QMARST).

If there is someone in the household who is older than 14 (AGE) and is the unmarried partner or the same-sex spouse of the reference person (only applies prior to 2013), and the reference person's marital status is "Married" or missing, the reference person's marital status will be allocated. The allocated value will be drawn from another reference person who is the same sex, similar age, and also living in a household with an unmarried partner who has a marital status of widowed, divorced, separated, or never married. When this happens, the flag variable will indicate the value of MARST was allocated (QMARST).

Only applies prior to 2013: For people who are listed as the reference person's spouse and are 15 or older, if the spouse is the same sex as the reference person the RELATE value will be replaced with "Unmarried partner." If they are listed as "Married" marital status will be allocated from another person who is the same sex, similar age, and an unmarried partner who has a marital status of widowed, divorced, separated, or never married.

If a person under 15 is listed as a "Housemate/roommate," RELATE will be replaced with "Roomer/boarder" or "Other non-relative" (alternating between the two values). When this happens, the flag variable will indicate the value of RELATE was allocated (QRELATE).

If a person over 18 (in 2008 and later: over 21) or who is not "never married" is listed as a "Foster child," RELATE will be replaced with "Roomer/boarder" or "Other non-relative" (alternating between the two values). When this happens, the flag variable will indicate the value of RELATE was allocated (QRELATE).

There are numerous situations that will cause a person's RELATE value to be allocated.

  • A person under 15 is listed as a "Spouse"
  • Beginning in 2010: A person listed as "Spouse" who is 50 or more years old/younger than the reference person.
  • A "Son/daughter" is not 12 to 69 years younger than a male reference person or 12 to 50 years younger than a female reference person
  • In 2008 and later: A son- or daughter-in-law who is less than 15 years old.
  • A "Brother/sister" is more than 35 years older or younger than the reference person
  • A "Father/mother" is less than 12 years older than the reference person
  • In 2008 and later: A "Parent-in-law" is less than 12 years older than the reference person
  • Prior to 2014: A "Father/mother" if there is more than one person with the same sex listed as a "Mother/father" (e.g., a household has two fathers of the reference person). In 2014 and later, this occurs if there are more than two parents of the same sex.
  • In 2008 to 2013: A "Parent-in-law" if there are more than one person with the same sex listed as a "Parent in law" (e.g., the reference person has two fathers-in-law) In 2014 and later, this occurs if there are more than two parent-in-laws of the same sex.

  • A "Grandchild" is less than 30 years younger than the reference person
  • An "Unmarried partner" or "Spouse" if there is another person in the household with this RELATE value (the person who comes first in the household record retains their RELATE value; the RELATE of the person who comes later in the household record will be allocated)
  • An "Unmarried partner" when the reference person married, when the unmarried partner is married, or when the unmarried partner is under 15
  • Beginning in 2010: An "Unmarried partner" who is 50 or more years younger/older than the reference person
  • If a person's RELATE value is missing, both this person and the reference person are married, and this person and the reference person are different sex, then RELATE will be replaced with Husband/Wife. In 2010 and later, this step also requires the person being no more than 50 years younger/older than the reference person. In all other cases, a missing RELATE value will be allocated.

When RELATE is allocated, it will be drawn from another person who:

  • Is the same sex as the person whose RELATE is being allocated
  • Is in the same broad age range (15 or 15+)
  • Has a similar age difference between themselves and the household reference person
  • Lives in a household with a reference person that is the same sex and marital status as the reference person in the household of the person whose RELATE is being allocated.

The above allocations will be looped through at least twice. After these allocations, final corrections are made for relative age:

  • A "Son/daughter" with an age that is less than 12 years younger than the reference person, will be replaced with "Brother/sister" or "Other relative" (alternating between the two values).
  • A "Son/daughter" with an age that is more than 50 years younger than the reference person, will be replaced with "Grandchild" or "Other relative" (alternating between the two values).
  • Prior to 2008: "Brother/sister" with an age that is more than 35 years older or younger than the reference person, will be replaced with "In-law" or "Other relative" (alternating between the two values).
  • In 2008 and later: "Brother/sister" with an age that is more than 35 years older or younger than the reference person, will be replaced with "Other relative"
  • A "Grandchild" with an age that is less than 30 years younger than the reference person will be replaced with "Brother/sister" or "Other relative" (alternating between the two values).

The flag variable will indicate the value of RELATE was allocated (QRELATE).

After these edits, MARST will be changed if necessary to be consistent with RELATE. If the spouse of the reference person is not listed as "Married," MARST will be replaced with "Married." Anyone who is under 15 and is not the reference person or the reference person's spouse will be listed as "Never married." Any "Foster child" will be listed as "Never married."

In 2008 and later: If a son- or daughter-in-law is "Never married," MARST will be allocated from another son- or daughter-in-law with the same sex and a similar age.

If someone has a missing value of MARST it will be allocated if the person is 15 or older and whose value of RELATE is son/daughter, brother/sister, father/mother, grandchild, in-law, other relative, room/boarder, housemate/roommate, nonrelative, or unmarried partner. The allocated value will be from another person who is the same sex, has the same value of RELATE, and is a similar age. If an unmarried partner (RELATE) has a value of "Married" for MARST it will be allocated from another unmarried partner who is the same sex and a similar age.

The flag variable will indicate when the value MARST is allocated (QMARST)

Internal ACS variable : REL and MAR