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Data Dictionary: Census 1990
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Survey: Census 1990
Data Source: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau
Table: T20. Marital Status [6]
Universe: Persons 15 years and over
Table Details
T20. Marital Status
Universe: Persons 15 years and over
Variable Label
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer, U.S. Census Bureau; Census of Population and Housing, 1990: Summary Tape File 1 on CD-ROM [machine-readable data files] / prepared by the Bureau of the Census. Washington: The Bureau [producer and distributor], 1991.
Marital Status
The data on marital status were derived from answers to questionnaire item 6, which was asked of all persons. The marital status classification refers to the status at the time of enumeration. Data on marital status are tabulated only for persons 15 years old and over.
All persons were asked whether they were "now married," "widowed," "divorced," "separated," or "never married." Couples who live together (unmarried persons, persons in common-law marriages) were allowed to report the marital status they considered the most appropriate.

Never Married
Includes all persons who have never been married, including persons whose only marriage(s) was annulled.

Ever Married
Includes persons married at the time of enumeration (including those separated), widowed, or divorced.

Now Married, Except Separated
Includes persons 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 persons in common-law marriages if they consider this category the most appropriate. In certain tabulations, currently married persons are further classified as "spouse present" or "spouse absent."

Includes persons legally separated or otherwise absent from their spouse because of marital discord. Included are persons who have been deserted or who have parted because they no longer want to live together but who have not obtained a divorce.

Includes widows and widowers who have not remarried.
Includes persons who are legally divorced and who have not remarried.
In selected sample tabulations, data for married and separated persons are reorganized and combined with information on the presence of the spouse in the same household.

Now Married
All persons whose current marriage has not ended by widowhood or divorce. This category includes persons defined above as "separated."

Spouse Present
Married persons whose wife or husband was enumerated as a member of the same household, including those whose spouse may have been temporarily absent for such reasons as travel or hospitalization.

Spouse Absent
Married persons whose wife or husband was not enumerated as a member of the same household. This category also includes all married persons living in group quarters.

Defined above.
Spouse Absent, Other
Married persons whose wife or husband was not enumerated 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 absent 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. In sample tabulations, these differences can also occur because different weights are applied to the individual's data. Any differences between the number of "now married, spouse present" males and females are due solely to sample weighting. By definition, the numbers would be the same.

When marital status was not reported, it was imputed according to the relationship to the householder and sex and age of the person. (For more information on imputation, see Appendix C, Accuracy of the Data.)

The 1990 marital status definitions are the same as those used in 1980 with the exception of the term "never married" which replaces the term "single" in tabulations. A general marital status question has been asked in every census since 1880.