Household Concepts and Household Definitions in Western Europe: Different levels but similar trends in household developments

  • Nico Keilman
Part of the The Plenum Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis book series (PSDE)


The purpose of the present chapter is to investigate the consequences of differences in definitions of households and household members for household and family data, and for the interpretation of observed trends in this field. We will largely concentrate on information obtained from censuses. The focus is on Western Europe, but the findings of this chapter apply equally well to other industrialized countries with comparable data collection systems and household and family trends. A brief review is given of definitions and concepts of the household, of household types “consensual union”, and “one-parent family”, and of the notion of “child”, as these are practised by the statistical agencies in European countries for their censuses and a few special surveys. Next, the consequences of different definitions are analysed for these concepts and notions. In order to trace the consequences of different definitions, we mainly rearranged observed and simulated numbers of various types of households.


Household Member Married Couple Household Type Dwelling Unit Lone Parent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. As, D. (1990), Det er Husholdninger som bor i Boligene: Om A Telle og Beskrive Hushold-ninger (“Dwellings are Occupied by Households: About the Enumeration and Description of Households”.). in: GULBRANDSEN MOEN, p. 51.Google Scholar
  2. Conference of European Statisticians (1983), Sources of data and definitions of households and families in countries in the ECE-region, Working Paper 2 prepared by the Secretariat of the Conference of European Statisticians, January 1983.Google Scholar
  3. Danmarks Statistik (1988), Familie-og Husstandsstatistik 1. Januar 1988 (“Family and household statistics, 1 January 1988”), Statistiske Efterretninger, Vol. 6 (9), pp. 1–15.Google Scholar
  4. Duchêne, J. (1990), Les Families Monoparentales et Recomposées: Quelles Données pour une Mesure de leur Incidence? In: PRIOUX, pp. 115–134.Google Scholar
  5. Duchêne, J. (1991), Ménages et Familles dans les Pays Industrialisés au Cours de la Décennie 1980, Paper for the 1991 Quetelet Seminar ‘The collection and comparability of demographic and social data in Europe’, Gembloux, September 1991.Google Scholar
  6. Eversley, D. (1984), Changes in the Composition of Households and the Cycle of Family Life, Population Studies no. 11. Council of Europe: Strasbourg.Google Scholar
  7. Festy, P. (1990), Fréquence et Durée de la Cohabitation: Analyse et Collecte des Données. In: PRIOUX, pp. 72–86.Google Scholar
  8. Gonnot, J.-P. G. Vukovich(1989), Recent Trends in Living Arrangements in Fourteen Industrialized Countries, Working Paper WP-89–34, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis: Laxenburg.Google Scholar
  9. Gulbrandsen, O., B. Moen (eds.) (1990), Husholdninger: Data og Definisjoner (“Households: Data and Definitions”), Prosjektrapport 63, Norwegian Institute for Building Research: Oslo.Google Scholar
  10. Hall, R. (1986), Household Trends within Western Europe 1970–1980. In: A. FINDLAY P. WHITE (eds.) West European Population Change, Croom Helm: London, pp. 19–34.Google Scholar
  11. Höpflinger, F. (1991), The Future of Household and Family Structures in Europe. In: Seminar on Present Demographic Trends and Lifestyles in Europe, Council of Europe: Strasbourg, pp. 291–338.Google Scholar
  12. Johansen, S. (1990), Husholdningsetablering i Folke-og Boligtellingen 1990 (“Household Definitions in the 1990 Population and Housing Census”). In: GULBRANDSEN MOEN, pp. 45–50.Google Scholar
  13. Kalmova, K. (1991), Typology of Households and Families. Czechoslovak Experience, Paper for the 1991 Quetelet Seminar ‘The collection and comparability of demographic and social data in Europe’, Gembloux, September 1991.Google Scholar
  14. Keilman, N. (1988), Recent Trends in Family and Household Composition in Europe, European Journal of Population, Vol. 3, pp. 297–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Keilman, N. (1991), Household Statistics in Europe: Consequences of Different Definitions, Paper for the 1991 Quetelet Seminar ‘The collection and comparability of demographic and social data in Europe’, Gembloux, September 1991.Google Scholar
  16. Kuusten, A. (1990), Facteurs d’Evolution de la Structure des Familles Nucléaires. In: PRIOUX, pp. 41–59.Google Scholar
  17. Linke, W. (1991), Statistics on Households and Families in the Member Countries of the Council of Europe: Definitions, Methods and Sources, INSEE Méthodes, Vol. 8, pp. 117–124.Google Scholar
  18. Linke, W., M. DE Saboulin, G. Baldursson, A. Kuusten (1990), HOUSEHOLD STRUCTURES IN EUROPE: REPORT OF THE SELECT Committee of Experts on Household Structures, Population Studies no. 22, Council of Europe: Strasbourg.Google Scholar
  19. Manniche, E. (1990), Quelques Aspects de la Cohabitation au Danemark. In: PRIOUX, pp. 87–95.Google Scholar
  20. Noack, T., N. Keilman (1993), Familie og Husholdning (“Family and household”), forthcoming in Sosialt Utsyn 1993 (“Social Survey 1993”), Norwegian Central Bureau of Statistics: Oslo/Kongsvinger.Google Scholar
  21. Ostby, L., K. Strom Bull (1986), Omfang og Utbredelse av Samliv uten Vigsel (“Extent and Development of Cohabitation outside Marriage”), Tidsskrift for Rettsvitenskap, Vol. 99, pp. 140–166.Google Scholar
  22. Penhale, B. (1989), Living Arrangements of Young Adults in France and England and Wales, CEPR Conference ‘Beyond national statistics: Household and family patterns in comparative perspective’, London, April 1989.Google Scholar
  23. Prioux, F. (ed.) (1990), La Famille dans les Pays Développés: Permanences et Changements (Actes du Séminaire sur les Nouvelles Formes de Vie Familiale, Vaucresson, Octobre 1987), Congrès et Colloques no. 4, INED: Paris.Google Scholar
  24. Rallu, J.-L., J. Gaymu, A. Parant (1993), Households Trends, Care for the Elderly, and Social Security in France. In: N. VAN NEVIWEGEN, J.C. Chesnais P. Dykstra (eds.), Coping with Sustained Low Fertility in France and the Netherlands, NIDI CBGS Publications 27, Swets Zeitlinger: Amsterdam/Lisse.Google Scholar
  25. Roussel, L. (1986), Evolution Récente de la Structure des Ménages dans quelques Pays Industriels, Population, Vol. 41 (6), pp. 913–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schwarz, K. (1988), Household Trends in Europe after World War II. In: N. Keilman, A. Kuusten A. Vossen (eds.) Modelling Household Formation and Dissolution, Clarendon Press: Oxford, pp. 67–83.Google Scholar
  27. Statistisk Sentralbyra (1985), Forslag til Standarder for Kjennemerker Knyttet til Familier og Husholdninger (“Proposal for Standards of Characteristics of Families and Households”), Interne Notater no. 85/31, SSB: Oslo/Kongsvinger.Google Scholar
  28. Statistisk Sentralbyra (1991a), Familie-og Yrkesundersokelsen 1988 (“Family and Occupation Survey 1988”), Norges Offisielle Statistikk B959, SSB: Oslo/Kongsvinger.Google Scholar
  29. Statistisk Sentralbyra (1991b), Folke-og Boligtelling 1990: Forelopige Hovedtall (“Population and Housing Census 1990: Provisional Key Figures”), Norges Offisielle Statistikk B961, SSB: Oslo/Kongsvinger.Google Scholar
  30. Statistisk Sentralbyra (1991c), Familiestatistikk 1. januar 1991 (“Family Statistics 1 January 1991”), Statistisk Ukehefte, Vol. 24 /91, pp. 1–10.Google Scholar
  31. Todd, J., D. Griffiths (1986), CHANGING THE DEFINITION OF A HOUSEHOLD. Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, Social Survey Division, HMSO: London.Google Scholar
  32. Trost, J. (1988), Cohabitation and Marriage: Transitional Pattern, Different Lifestyle, or just Another Legal Form. In: H. MOORS J. SCHOORL (eds.) Lifestyles, Contraception and Parenthood, NIDI CBGS Publications 17, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute: The Hague.Google Scholar
  33. Trost, J. (1990), Stabilité et Transformation de la Famille In. PRIOUX, pp. 25–39.Google Scholar
  34. Unrred Na’tions (1980), Principals and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/67), UN Statistical Office: New York.Google Scholar
  35. United Nations (1987), Recommendations for the 1990 Censuses of Population and Housing in the ECE Region: Regional Variant of the World Recommendations for the 1990 Round of Population and Housing Censuses, United Nations Statistical Commission, and Economic Commission for Europe, Conference of European Statisticians, Statistical Standards and Studies no. 40, United Nations: New York.Google Scholar
  36. United Nations (1989), Demographic Yearbook: 39th Issue, United Nations: New York.Google Scholar
  37. United Nations (1990), Supplementary Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.M/67/Add. 1 ), UN Statistical Office: New York.Google Scholar
  38. Van Imhoff, E., N. Keilman (1990), Huishoudens en Uitkeringen in de 21e eeuw: De Gevolgen van Veranderende Huishoudenssamenstelling voor de Sociale Zekerheid (“Households and Social Security Benefits in the 21st Century: The Consequences of Household Dynamics for Social Security”), NIDI Report 18, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute: The Hague.Google Scholar
  39. VAN Imhoff, E., N. Keilman (1991), LIPRO 2.0: An Application of a Dynamic Demo-graphic Projection Model to Household Structure in the Netherlands, Swets Zeitlinger: Amsterdam/Lisse.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nico Keilman
    • 1
  1. 1.Division for Social and Demographic ResearchStatistics NorwayOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations