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Explore how IPUMS created this variable


POPRULEH explains the criteria by which the variable POPLOC linked the person to a probable father in pre-1950 datasets.

In the pre-1950 datasets, child-father links were established according to four basic rules, and POPRULEH gives the number of the rule that applied to the link in question.

POPRULEH works the same way for all countries. A lower-numbered rule (greater than 0) takes precedence over a higher numbered rule. The codes for POPRULEH are as follows:

0 = No father of this person present in the household.

1 = Unambiguous relationship. This rule covers four basic cases, and occurs when the person linked is 10 to 69 years younger than the probable parent. All relationship pairings are not available in every sample. The allowable relationship pairings are as follows:

Child linked to head or spouse/unmarried partner of the head
Head or sibling linked to parent
Spouse or sibling-in-law linked to parent-in-law
Child/child-in-law linked to head or spouse

2 = Grandchildren. Potential fathers are males listed as child or child-in- law in RELATE 13-79 years older than persons listed as grandchildren and who share the grandchild's surname. If there is more than one potential father, we used relative positions in the household, age and marital status to decide the link.

3 = Other relatives and nonrelatives. Link to a preceding person with a plausible relationship pairing of child-to-father, where the father is 13-79 years older, is ever-married, and shares the child's surname. The father must immediately precede the child or all intervening persons must also be linked to the father as spouse or child. Permissible relationship pairings are as follows (child to father):

Nephew/niece to sibling or sibling-in-law
Cousin to aunt/uncle
Other relative to sibling
Grandchild to other relative
Other relative to other relative (RELATEH code 1000, 1001, 1061)
Non-relative to non-relative (RELATEH code 1100-1303)

7 = If a child is linked to a mother (see MOMLOC and MOMRULEH), and that mother is linked to a husband who has not been linked to the child by another rule, the husband is linked to the child as a stepfather, regardless of the age gap between child and husband.

Consistency checks: If a husband and wife were both linked to the same father, the best father link was chosen based on detailed relationship (RELATEH) and proximity within the household. If a person is linked to two parents who are not linked to each other, remove one of the parental links on the basis of proximity within the household.

Comparability — Index


Comparability — General

This variable is comparable for all countries. The distribution of codes and the quality of the links varies across samples due to the nature of the underlying data. In some instances customization of the linking rules was necessary because of category differences in RELATEH (relationship to the head of household) and other enumeration practices that affected the data.

Father-child pairs are required to share the same surname, except when making unambiguous (rule 1) links. This requirement is also dropped in the Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, where SURSIM does not capture family relationships (e.g. patronymic surnames in Iceland and Norway and non-reporting of child surnames in Sweden).


No universe descriptions are currently available.


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