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Group quarters

Codes and Frequencies

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GQ classifies all housing units as falling into one of two broad categories: households and group quarters. Group quarters are largely institutions and other group living arrangements, such as rooming houses and military barracks.

Housing units are given one of three codes combining the IPUMS and British rules for identifying group quarters.

IPUMS identifies group quarters as units with 10 or more individuals unrelated to the household head. The British rules for identifying group quarters are that the household has 12 or more people, and the ratio of people unrelated to the head to total household size is > 0.8.

Once a unit has more than 10 people unrelated to the head, it will always be a group quarters under the NAPP definition (GQ = 2 or GQ = 3). Its classification under the British definition depends on the ratio - not the total number - of unrelated members. Thus housing units with large number of unrelated individuals may not be group quarters under the British rule if the ratio of unrelated to total members of the housing unit falls below 0.8.

1: Household with 0-9 persons unrelated to the head.
2: Households with 10 or more persons unrelated to the head, and group quarters under British rule.
3: Households with 10 or more persons unrelated to the head, but not group quarters under British rule. This includes households of 10 and 11 people total with 10 or 11 persons unrelated to the head, and the more diverse cases of households with 12 or more total, and 10 or more unrelated but where the ratio of unrelated to total is less than or equal to 0.8.

Note that large dwellings with multiple family units are classified as group quarters only if they contain 10 or more individuals who are unrelated to all household heads in the dwelling. In most samples, it is difficult to identify how family units that share a dwelling are related to one another. For this reason, we cannot say whether large dwellings with multiple family units are group quarters or the homes of large extended families.


This variable is in all samples except the Canadian samples for 1881 and earlier and Mecklenburg-Schwerin 1819, which currently have no relationship to household head.


  • Canada 1891: All households
  • Canada 1901: All households
  • Canada 1911: All households
  • Denmark 1787: All households
  • Denmark 1801: All households
  • Great Britain 1851a: All households
  • Great Britain 1851b: All households
  • Great Britain 1851c: All households
  • Great Britain 1861a: All households
  • Great Britain 1861b: All households
  • Great Britain 1871b: All households
  • Great Britain 1881a: All households
  • Great Britain 1881b: All households
  • Great Britain 1891a: All households
  • Great Britain 1891b: All households
  • Great Britain 1901a: All households
  • Great Britain 1901b: All households
  • Great Britain 1911: All households
  • Iceland 1703: All households
  • Iceland 1801: All households
  • Iceland 1901: All households
  • Iceland 1910: All households
  • Norway 1865: All households
  • Norway 1875: All households
  • Norway 1900: All households
  • Sweden 1880: All households
  • Sweden 1890: All households
  • Sweden 1900: All households
  • Sweden 1910: All households
  • United States 1850a: All households
  • United States 1850b: All households
  • United States 1860: All households
  • United States 1870: All households
  • United States 1880a: All households
  • United States 1880b: All households
  • United States 1900: All households
  • United States 1910: All households


  • Canada: 1891, 1901, 1911
  • Denmark: 1787, 1801
  • Great Britain: 1851a, 1851b, 1851c, 1861a, 1861b, 1871b, 1881a, 1881b, 1891a, 1891b, 1901a, 1901b, 1911
  • Iceland: 1703, 1729, 1801, 1901, 1910
  • Norway: 1801, 1865, 1875, 1900, 1910
  • Sweden: 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910
  • United States: 1850a, 1850b, 1860, 1870, 1880a, 1880b, 1900, 1910