Summary of important quality information you need to know before using these data.

The Families and Households Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) PDF linked to from this page contains further information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data
  • the quality of the output: including the accuracy of the data, how it compares with related data
  • uses and users
  • how the output was created

Important points about Families and Households data

  • The Families and Households estimates are produced using the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a large-scale UK household survey we carry out which interviews approximately 40,000 households per quarter; it does not include institutions such as prisons or nursing homes.
  • The estimates are subject to reliability; the precision of the estimates depends on the sample size but for some smaller groups, such as civil partner couple families and same-sex cohabiting couple families, the estimates are considered less precise and should be treated with more caution.
  • The definition of a family in this release is a married, civil partnered or cohabiting couple with or without children, or a lone parent with at least one child who live at the same address.
  • The definition of a household in this release 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, sitting room or dining area.
  • In the 2016 release, estimates for 2013 to 2015 have been revised so figures may differ slightly from older versions of this publication.


Families and Household estimates were first published in 2011, and are now published annually based on the April to June quarter of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) household dataset. Estimates currently published show figures for 1996 to 2016.

Estimates for the reference years 2013 to 2015 have been revised due to further reweighting of the LFS and published in Families and Households: 2016 in November 2016. Therefore estimates for 2013 to 2015 may not match estimates which have been published in previous years. Users are advised to use the estimates published in Families and Households: 2016 for all reference years as these are the most up to date estimates. The impact of the reweighting on the 2013 to 2015 estimates is summarised in the impact of reweighting dataset.

The annual families and households release presents a time series of estimates of families by type, people in families by family type and children in families by type. Types of family include married couple families, cohabiting couple families and lone-parent families. Statistics on household size, household types and people in different household types are also provided. These include estimates of the numbers of people living alone and multi-family households.

The reference tables contain information on the number of households in the UK, what types of families are living in these households and the number of people living in these households. The estimates are accompanied by measures of quality to show the levels of uncertainty associated with the estimates. Users are advised to consult the quality measures when interpreting these estimates.

Family and household estimates are used to analyse families by family type and to understand changing household structures and sizes. Users of this data include policy makers, MPs, journalists, charities, researchers and members of the general public.

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