Data Dictionary: ACS 2006 -- 2008 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Universe: Population 15 years and over
Variable Details
C12002. Sex By Marital Status By Age For The Population 15 Years And Over
Universe: Universe: Population 15 years and over
C12002046 Now married (except separated)
Aggregation method:
Addition
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Sex
The data on sex were derived from answers to Question 3. Individuals were asked to mark either "male" or "female" to indicate their sex. For most cases in which sex was not reported, the appropriate entry was determined from the persons given (i.e., first) name and household relationship. Otherwise, sex was imputed according to the relationship to the householder and the age of the person.
Sex Ratio
The sex ratio represents the balance between the male and female populations. Ratios above 100 indicate a larger male population, and ratios below 100 indicate a larger female population. This measure is derived by dividing the total number of males by the total number of females and then multiplying by 100. It is rounded to the nearest tenth.
Limitation of the data
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have sex distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the sex distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the sex question in the 2007 ACS Grid-Sequential Test (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS-MP-09_Grid-Sequential_Test_Final_Report.pdf).

The results of this testing show that the changes may introduce an inconsistency in the data produced for this question as observed from the years 2007 to 2008
Question/Concept History
Beginning in 2008, the layout of the sex question response categories was changed to a horizontal side-by-side layout from a vertically stacked layout on the mail paper ACS questionnaire.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Marital Status/Marital History
The data on marital status and marital history were derived from answers to Questions 19 through 22. The marital status classification refers to the status at the time of interview. Before 2008, the marital status question was asked of all people. Beginning in 2008, the question on marital status was asked only for people 15 years old and over. People 15 and over were asked whether they were "now married," "widowed," "divorced," "separated," or "never married." Couples who live together (unmarried people, people in common-law marriages) were allowed to report the marital status they considered the most appropriate. When marital status was not reported, it was imputed according to the persons relationship to the householder, sex, and age. Differences in the number of currently married males and females occur because there is no step in the weighting process to equalize the weighted estimates of husbands and wives.
Never Married
Includes all people who have never been married, including people whose only marriage(s) was annulled.
Ever Married
Includes people ever married at the time of interview (including those now married, separated, widowed, or divorced).
Now Married, Except Separated
Includes people whose current marriage has not ended through widowhood, divorce, or separation (regardless of previous marital history). The category may also include couples who live together or people in common-law marriages if they consider this category the most appropriate. In certain tabulations, currently married people are further classified as "spouse present" or "spouse absent." For federal definitions, "now married" does not include same-sex married people even if the marriage was performed in a state issuing marriage certificates for same-sex couples.
Separated
Includes people legally separated or otherwise absent from their spouse because of marital discord. Those without a final divorce decree are classified as "separated." This category also includes people who have been deserted or who have parted because they no longer want to live together but who have not obtained a divorce.
Widowed
Includes widows and widowers who have not remarried.
Divorced
Includes people who are legally divorced and who have not remarried. Those without a final divorce decree are classified as "separated." In selected tabulations, data for married and separated people are reorganized and combined with information on the presence of the spouse in the same household.
Now Married
All people whose current marriage has not ended by widowhood or divorce. This category includes people defined above as "separated."
  • Spouse Present

Married people whose wife or husband was reported as a member of the same household or same group quarters facility, including those whose spouses may have been temporarily absent for such reasons as travel or hospitalization.
  • Spouse Absent

Married people whose wife or husband was not reported as a member of the same household or the same group quarters facility.
  • Separated

Defined above.
  • Spouse Absent, Other

Married people whose wife or husband was not reported as a member of the same household, excluding separated. Included is any person whose spouse was employed and living away from home or in an institution or serving away from home in the Armed Forces.

Differences between the number of currently married males and the number of currently married females occur because of reporting differences and because some husbands and wives have their usual residence in different areas. By definition, the numbers would be the same.
Median Age at First Marriage
The median age at first marriage is calculated indirectly by estimating the proportion of young people who will marry during their lifetime, calculating one-half of this proportion, and determining the age (at the time of the survey) of people at this half-way mark by osculatory interpolation. It does not represent the actual median age of the population who married during the calendar year. It is shown to the nearest tenth of a year. Henry S. Shryock and Jacob S. Siegel outline the osculatory procedure in Methods and Materials of Demography, First Edition (May 1973), Volume 1, pages 291-296.
Marital History
Beginning in 2008, people 15 years and over who were ever married (currently married, widowed, separated, or divorced) were asked if they had been married, widowed, or divorced in the past 12 months. They were asked how many times (once, two times, three or more times) they have been married, and the year of their last marriage.
Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have marital status distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the marital status distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

Question/Concept History
The word "current" was dropped from the 1996-1998 question. Since 1999, the question states, "What is this persons marital status?" The American Community Survey began providing the median age at first marriage with the 2004 data. Data on marital history were first collected in 2008 at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services to provide more detailed annual information on the marital status of the population. Before 2008, the marital status question was asked of all people and only tabulated for those 15 and over. In 2008, marital status was moved from the basic demographic section, at the beginning of the ACS questionnaire, to the detailed person section - a part of the questionnaire where questions were asked of only people 15 and over. The marital history questions follow the marital status question on the questionnaire.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Age
The data on age were derived from answers to Question 4. The age classification is based on the age of the person in complete years at the time of interview. Both age and date of birth are used in combination to calculate the most accurate age at the time of the interview. Inconsistently reported and missing values are assigned or imputed based on the values of other variables for that person, from other people in the household, or from people in other households ("hot deck" imputation). Data on age are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a particular individual and to classify other characteristics in tabulations. Age data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and analyze programs and policies. Therefore, age data are tabulated by many different age groupings, such as 5-year age groups.
Median Age
The median age is the age that divides the population into two equal-size groups. Half of the population is older than the median age and half is younger. Median age is based on a standard distribution of the population by single years of age and is shown to the nearest tenth of a year. (See the sections on "Standard Distributions" and "Medians" under "Derived Measures.")
Age Dependency Ratio
The age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the combined under-18 and 65-and-over populations by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.
Old-Age Dependency Ratio
The old-age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population 65 years and over by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.
Child Dependency Ratio
The child dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population under 18 years by the 18-to-64 population, and multiplying by 100.
Limitation of the Data
Caution should be taken when comparing population in age groups across time. The entire population continually ages into older age groups over time and babies fill in the youngest age group. Therefore, the population of a certain age is made up of a completely different group of people in 2000 and 2008. Since populations occasionally experience booms/increases and busts/decreases in births, deaths, or migration (for example, the postwar Baby Boom from 1946-1964), one should not necessarily expect that the population in an age group in Census 2000 should be similar in size or proportion to the population in the same age group in the 2008 ACS. For example, Baby Boomers were age 36 to 54 in Census 2000 while they were age 44 to 62 in the 2008 ACS. Therefore, the age group 55 to 59 would show a considerable increase in population when comparing Census 2000 data with the 2008 ACS data. Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have age distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the age distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
Question/Concept History
The 1996-2002 American Community Survey question asked for month, day, and year of birth before age. Since 2003, the American Community Survey question asked for age, followed by month, day, and year of birth. In 2008, an additional instruction was provided with the age and date of birth question on the American Community Survey questionnaire to report babies as age 0 when the child was less than 1 year old. The addition of this instruction occurred after 2005 National Census Test results indicated increased accuracy of age reporting for babies less than one year old.