Highest education refers to the highest education level of any member in the consumer unit. A consumer unit comprises either: (1) all members of a particular household who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or other legal arrangements; (2) a person living alone or sharing a household with others or living as a roomer in a private home or lodging house or in permanent living quarters in a hotel or motel, but who is financially independent; or (3) two or more persons living together who use their income to make joint expenditure decisions. Financial independence is determined by the three major expense categories: Housing, food, and other living expenses. To be considered financially independent, at least two of the three major expense categories have to be provided entirely, or in part, by the respondent. For more details about the data or the survey, visit the FAQs (https://www.bls.gov/cex/csxfaqs.htm).
Occupation refers to the occupation in which the reference person received the most earnings during the survey period. The reference person is the first member mentioned by the respondent when asked to "Start with the name of the person or one of the persons who owns or rents the home." It is with respect to this person that the relationship of the other consumer unit members is determined. For more details about the data or the survey, visit the FAQs (https://www.bls.gov/cex/csxfaqs.htm).