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.
If a household contains only one family (with or without ungrouped individuals) then the HRP is the same as the Family Reference Person (FRP).
For families in which there is generational divide between family members that cannot be determined (Other related family), there is no FRP. Members of these families are treated the same as ungrouped individuals.
If there is more than one family in a household the HRP is chosen from among the FRPs using the same criteria used to choose the FRP. This means the HRP will be selected from the FRPs on the basis of their economic activity, in the priority order:


  • Economically active, employed, full-time, non-student
  • Economically active, employed, full-time, student
  • Economically active, employed, part-time, non-studentt
  • Economically active, employed, part-time, student
  • Economically active, unemployed, non-student
  • Economically active, unemployed, student
  • Economically inactive, retired
  • Economically inactive, other

If some or all FRPs have the same economic activity, the HRP is the eldest of the FRPs. If some or all are the same age, the HRP is the first of the FRPs from the order in which they were listed on the questionnaire.
If a household is made up entirely of any combination of ungrouped individuals and other related families, the HRP is chosen from among all people in the household, using the same criteria used to chose between FRPs. Students at their non term-time address cannot be the HRP.