Household Reference Person

The concept of a Household Reference Person (HRP) was introduced in the 2001 Census (in common with other government surveys in 2001/2) to replace the traditional concept of the 'head of the household'. HRPs provide an individual person within a household to act as a reference point for producing further derived statistics and for characterising a whole household according to characteristics of the chosen reference person.
For a person living alone, it follows that this person is the HRP.

Household Questionnaire

The census household questionnaire was delivered to every household in Scotland. It asked about that household and each of the individuals in it.

The Household Questionnaire contained 13 questions about each household and up to 35 individual questions for each member of the household who usually lived at the address. The Household Questionnaire has 28 pages, eight pages for the household questions and four pages of individual questions for each member of a household consisting of up to five people.


A household is:
• one person living alone; or
• a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room or sitting room or dining area.

This includes:

Family Reference Person

The Family Reference Person (FRP) is identified by criteria based on the family make up.


  • In a lone parent family it is taken to be the lone parent.
  • In a couple family, the FRP is chosen from the two people in the couple on the basis of their economic activity (in the priority order: full-time job, part-time job, unemployed, retired, other). If both people have the same economic activity, the FRP is identified as the elder of the two or, if they are the same age, the first member of the couple on the form.


A family is defined as a group of people who are either:

  • a married, same-sex civil partnership, or cohabiting couple, with or without child(ren),
  • a lone parent with child(ren),
  • a married, same-sex civil partnership, or cohabiting couple with grandchild(ren) but with no children present from the intervening generation, or
  • a single grandparent with grandchild(ren) but no children present from the intervening generation.


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