A household includes all the people who occupy a housing unit. A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied (or if vacant, is intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other people in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall. The occupants may be a single family, one person living alone, two or more families living together, or any other group of related or unrelated people who share living arrangements.
A family consists of a householder and one or more other people living in the same household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. All people in a household who are related to the householder are regarded as members of his or her family. A household can contain only one family for purposes of tabulations. Not all households contain families since a household may comprise a group of unrelated people or one person living alone (US Census 2003).Two assumptions are reflected in these definitions. Firstly, the household is considered as residing in a “housing unit”, essentially a single, spatially delimited physical structure. Secondly, families and households are partially equated. Although not all households contain families, all families must be located within a single housing unit.
Although it tries for objectivity, the Census text reflects the influence of several cultural premises and values that sometimes create problems for the understanding of our own society. They are even more questionable when applied to other cultures. Three major interrelated problems are evident: