The ACS Parent tabulation identifies a parent as a person who is either a householder who has a child, the spouse of a householder who has a child, or an identified parent in a subfamily with a child. The child must live in the household with the parent in order for the parent to be identified. In some cases, legitimate parent-child relationships within a household may still go undetected because of insufficient information. For example, if an unmarried partner has a child with the householder, only the householder can be identified as a parent of the child. Such undercounted arrangements may produce a slight bias in the data.
The Parent Tabulation iterates ACS population data based on the school enrollment characteristics of their children. The categories include:
- Total parents of children
- Parents of grade-relevant children
- Parents of grade-relevant children enrolled in school
- Parents of grade-relevant children enrolled in public school
The first distinction is between parents of all children and parents of grade-relevant children. Grade-relevancy identifies children in grades served by a district. Enrollment categories offer additional distinction between parents of children who are enrolled in school and those who are enrolled in public schools.