Classification: MHU84
Short name: MHU84
Full name: Minimal Household Unit classifications 1984
General description: The concept of the Minimal Household Unit (MHU) forms the basis of three classifications used within the LS.
It was developed by Overton and Ermisch to identify the types of unit from which households are formed. It defines the smallest unit whose members are expected to share financial and decision making.
The system was developed to facilitate the analysis of data on individuals, families and households in order to identify the factors determining household formation and re-formation. This can otherwise be difficult because of the wide variety of possible relationships between household members.
The four types of MHU were originally described as:
1. Non-married individuals
2. One-parent families with dependent children
3. Married couples with no dependent children
4. Married couples with dependent children
Thus the term MHU embraces both conventional family types and non-married individuals.
A household may be designated 'simple' where it comprises a single MHU or 'complex' where it contains more than one.
LS description: LS member records include three variables relating to their MHU:
- the type of MHU to which the LS member belongs
- the position of the LS member within that MHU
- the combination of MHU types in the LS member's household
The 1971 and 1981 classifications are the same for each variable. However, the variables are derived in a slightly different way because of differences in census fields.
Keyword: Household
Start date: Census 1971
References: Overton E and Ermisch J. (1984) Minimal household units. Population Trends No. 35 Spring 1984 pp 18-22 (HMSO)
Equivalent classifications: MHU91 (Census 1991)