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Mother's line number (self-reported)


This variable reports the line number (LINENO_CPS8) of the mother.
0 = No mother of this person present in household
99 = NIU (Not in Universe)


PELNMOM is a variable that indicates whether the person's mother lived in the same household and, if so, gives the line number (LINENO_CPS8) of the mother. PELNMOM makes it easy for researchers to link the characteristics of mothers and children and is particularly useful for studying cohabiting families.

Since 2007, respondents have been asked whether each household member resides with his or her mother. If they responded yes, the interviewer recorded the mother's line number. In addition, respondents reported whether the mother was a biological, step, or adoptive parent (PEMOMTYP). Respondents also identified fathers (PELNDAD), spouses (ASPOUSE), and cohabiting partners (PECOHAB).

These variables are reported as is and may need additional cleaning by researchers. In particular, when a child resides with one biological parent and that parent's cohabiting partner, the child is usually reported to live with only one parent. Researchers can use information on the father's cohabiting partner (PECOHAB) to identify those cohabiting stepmothers who are not included in PELNMOM. Married stepmothers are always identified by PELNMOM.

An Introduction to the Family Interrelationship Variables can be found on IPUMS-USA. On this page you'll find specific examples of how pointer variables, like PELNMOM, can be used efficiently. The Census Bureau working paper "Improvements to Demographic Household Data in the Current Population Survey: 2007" may also be useful.

PELNMOM was drawn from the final CPS interview, conducted 2-5 months before the ATUS interview.Mother's location was not collected at the time of the ATUS interview.


PELNMOM is consistent in all years for which it is available. These variables were not collected in the 2020 CPS or later (see YEAR_CPS8); note that some 2020 ATUS respondents will have valid values for these variables if they completed the CPS in 2019 (see YEAR_CPS8).

In 2020, the CPS began identifying parents using PELNPAR1 and PELNPAR2.


  • All persons in the household at the time of the CPS interview.


  • 2007-2020