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Ruggles, Steven, and Susan Brower. 2003. "Measurement of Household and Family Composition in the United States, 1850-2000." Population and Development Review, 29(1): 73-101.
This article has three goals. First, it explores the effects of changes in census definitions & concepts on the measurement of living arrangements. As part of this analysis, the authors develop new estimates of the number of households & group quarters in each census year since 1850. Second, they evaluate the existing aggregate statistical series on family & household composition, with particular attention to problems in the measurement of subfamilies. Finally, they describe data & methods for developing a consistent set of statistics for the period since 1850 & offer recommendations for the coherent measurement of family & household composition.