Relationship structure of stepfamily

Status

Relationship structure of stepfamily was approved as a departmental standard on September 19, 2011.

Definition

Relationship structure refers to whether the family contains biological or adopted children of only one married spouse or common-law partner whose birth or adoption preceded the current relationship. The family can contain such children of each married spouse or common-law partner. It also considers whether or not the family also includes biological or adopted children of both married spouses or common-law partners.

Stepfamily refers to couple families with children that contain at least one biological or adopted child of only one married spouse or common-law partner whose birth or adoption preceded the current relationship. The family can contain such children of each married spouse or common-law partner. The family can also contain biological or adopted children from the current relationship. If the current married spouse or common-law partner has adopted the child(ren) of the other married spouse or common-law partner then it is no longer a stepfamily.

Relation to previous standard

This is a new standard.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - Conference of European Statisticians (UNECE-CES) includes in their recommendations for the 2010 censuses the following classification of reconstituted families:

  • Reconstituted family, one non-common child
    • And no common children
    • And one common child
    • And two or more common children
  • Reconstituted family, two non-common children
    • And no common children
    • And one common child
    • And two or more common children
  • Reconstituted family, three non-common children
    • And no common children
    • And one common child
    • And two or more common children
  • Reconstituted family, four or more non-common children
    • And no common children
    • And one common child
    • And two or more common children

They go on to note that, 'Some countries may wish to add further detail on the family status of the couple (married or cohabiting), on the age of the children, and/or whether the children are solely the woman's children, solely the man's children, or children from an earlier liaison of both the man and the woman.'

This standard's Classification of stepfamily structure is compatible with the UNECE-CES recommendations in that it includes classification of stepfamilies according to whether there are children of only one married spouse or common-law partner or of each married spouse or common-law partner whose birth or adoption preceded the current relationship.

Classification(s)

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