Last edited 17 Aug 2020

Household reference person

From April 2001, Government surveys, replaced the traditional concept of the "head of the household" (HOH) with a "household reference person" (HRP).

The HRP is defined as the "householder" (that is the person in whose name the accommodation is owned or rented).

For joint householders (joint owners or joint tenants), the HRP is whoever has the highest income. If incomes are the same, the older person is defined as the HRP. Thus the HRP definition, unlike the old HOH definition, no longer gives automatic priority to male partners.

The switch from HOH to HRP resulted in a lower proportion of male ‘Heads’. For this reason, all figures based on the HRP (former HOH) for 1994-95 should be viewed with consideration when comparing them to 2004-05 and 2014-15.

NB The English Housing Survey, Profile and condition of the English housing stock, 2018-19, Published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government in August 2020, defines the household reference person (HRP) as: 'The person in whose name the dwelling is owned or rented or who is otherwise responsible for the accommodation. In the case of joint owners and tenants, the person with the highest income is taken as the HRP. Where incomes are equal, the older is taken as the HRP. This procedure increases the likelihood that the HRP better characterises the household’s social and economic position. The EHS definition of HRP is not consistent with the Census 2011, in which the HRP is chosen on basis of their economic activity. Where economic activity is the same, the older is taken as HRP, or if they are the same age, HRP is the first listed on the questionnaire.'

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