11

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110

A fundamental statistical unit 1 used in demography is the individual 2 or person 2 (the term head 2 (cf. 221-6) has also been employed, but this usage is now largely out of date). The household 3 is a socio-economic unit, consisting of individuals who live together. Statistical definitions of the household vary. According to the definition which has been recommended as an international standard a household consists of a group of individuals who share living quarters and their principal meals. The term hearth 3 has been used in the past, showing that in the past members of the household used to share the same fire. Classifications of households also vary between different countries and different enquiries. In order to facilitate comparative studies the internationally recommended classification involves the distinction of two types: private households 4 or family households 4 and institutional households 5 or non-family households 5 which consist of people living in certain institutions. An individual living by himself is considered to be a one-person household 6 for statistical purposes. A boarder 7 is a person other than a domestic servant, who is unrelated to other members of the household and who habitually takes his meals with the household. A lodger 8, on the other hand, does not habitually take his meals with the household. These two categories may or may not be included in the household for statistical purposes.

  • 8. lodger n. — in the United States of America this term is used to include both boarders and lodgers as defined above.

111

When a private household (110-4) contains several persons they are called members of the household 1 and one of them will be the head of the household 2. There is no universally accepted rule as to who is considered the head of the household —in some cases it may be the principal earner 3. On some census schedules there appears a question dealing with the relationship 4 (114-3*) of members of the household to its head; this enables a distinction to be made between different groups in composite households 5, which contain members of more than one biological family (113-1).

  • 2. The term householder is sometimes used for the head of the household.

112

The family 1 (cf. 115-1) is a different unit which must be carefully distinguished from the household (110-3). It is defined primarily by reference to relationships which pertain to or arise from reproductive processes and which are regulated by law or by custom. The fundamental relationships are those established between a couple by marriage—and that existing between a couple as parents 2, i. e., father 3 and mother 4, and their children 5 i. e., sons 6 and daughters 7.

  • 2. parent n. — parental adj. — parenthood n., the state of being or becoming a parent. Note that the term "parent", when used in the singular is not equivalent to the French "parent".
  • 3. father n. — paternal adj.
  • 4. mother n. — maternal adj.
  • 6. son n. — filial adj.
  • 7. daughter n. — filial adj.

113

Parents and their children are sometimes referred to as the biological family 1. Brothers 2 and sisters 3, without distinction of sex, are called sibs 4 or siblings 4. Siblings with only one parent in common are called half-brothers 5 or half-sisters 6.

114

Persons related through common descent 1 from the same progenitor 2 or ancestor 2 are called blood relatives 3 or genetic relatives 3. The term kin 3 is also used. The degree of relationship 4 is generally computed by reference to the number of steps which are necessary before a common ancestor is reached, but there are many different methods of computation. The fundamental relation in each of these steps is the filial relation 5 (112-6* and 112-7*) of child to parent, which is the reciprocal of parenthood 6(112-2*) i. e., the relation of a couple or of a father or mother to offspring 7or progeny 7. Blood relationship must be distinguished from affinal relationship 8 or relationship by marriage 8, which marriage establishes between one spouse and the kin of the other.

  • 1. descent n. — descendant n., one linked through descent.
  • 2. ancestor n. — ancestral adj.
  • 3. relative n. — related adj. — relationship n., the state of being related.
    The term relative in ordinary language is used for both blood and affinal relatives. kin n. and adj. — relative, related — sometimes also used for the collection of all kin — kinship n., the state of being kin.
  • 7. progeny n. — this term may also be used for all the descendants of a common ancestor.

115

The family 1 (cf. 112-1) as a unit in demographic studies needs to be specifically defined and definitions for different purposes may vary. A unit so selected may be called a census family 1 or a statistical family 1. In some countries the definition of a statistical family may approximate to the biological family, in others the definition may be based on the nuclear family 2 or family nucleus 2 consisting of the head of the household, his spouse and their unmarried children. These may either form the census family itself or be the core of such a family.

  • 1. In the United States of America the primary family is that family unit which contains the head of the household; a sub-family is a married couple with or without children, or a parent with one or more children under 18 years of age, living in a household and related to, but not including the head of the household and his wife. In Great Britain the primary family unit consists of parents and their children, the parents’ sibs and ancestors. A broken family is one in which one of the parents has been lost by death, divorce or desertion; and there is also the abnormal family, such as an unmarried mother and her illegitimate children. The joint family or composite family generally consists of more than two generations of a biological family and is found in countries where it is not the custom for children to leave the parental home on marriage.

116

In non-technical language the term "generation" is often used loosely to refer to persons of similar age at the same time. In technical literature, the term generation 1 has been given a precise meaning and refers to a group of persons born within a specified period of time, generally taken as a calendar year. More recently the term cohort 2 has been introduced to denote a group of persons who experience a certain event in a specified period of time: thus a birth cohort is a synonym for generation in the sense of 116-1, a marriage cohort is a group of persons married within a defined period etc. The term generation 2 may also be used as a synonym for cohort, e. g. a marriage generation. In demography as in genealogy the term generation 3 may also be used to denote the descendants of a group of persons who are themselves a generation, in the sense of 116-1. Thus children of a group of migrants are often referred to as the second generation. Sometimes consideration is restricted to lines of descent through one sex only, thus a male generation 4, or paternal generation 4 are the sons of a generation of males, a female generation 5 or maternal generation 5 the daughters of a generation of females. These distinctions are used particularly when the length of a generation or the mean interval between successive generations (713-1) are computed.

  • 2. cohort n. — the term cohort analysis has been used to denote a method of analysing data, in which the experience of individual cohorts is studied throughout their lives, or other specified periods.
    For purposes of military service the number of men who become liable to conscription in a given year is sometimes called the class (cf. 130-8) of that year. In the United States the same term is used for a group who complete their studies at a particular school or university in a particular year.

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back to Introduction | preface | Index
chapters | General concepts index 1 | The treatment and processing of population statistics index 2 | Distribution and classification of the population index 3 | Mortality and morbidity index 4 | Nuptiality index 5 | Fertility index 6 | Population growth and replacement index 7 | Migration index 8 | Economic and social aspects of demography index 9
section | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 80 | 81 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93