Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Release: Consumer Expenditure Surveys
Composition of consumer unit refers to the classification of interviewed families according to: (1) relationship of other family members to the reference person; (2) age of the children of the reference person; and (3) combination of relationship to the reference person and age of the children. Stepchildren and adopted children are included with the reference person's own children.
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.
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.
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U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Unit Characteristics: Number of Consumer Units by Composition of Consumer Unit: Total Married Couple Consumer Units [CXUCONSUNITLB0602M], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CXUCONSUNITLB0602M, July 31, 2021.