How do I link households over time?

We don’t provide a longitudinal household id as different users will have different definitions of what it means to be part of a longitudinal household. Does a birth or death change the household? What if someone moves in or out? Does it matter who they are or how they are related to the ‘core’ people in the household? If a couple divorces, who does the household belong to after the divorce? Or what happens if an adult son moves back into the family home – is it the same household or a different one? Does it matter if the adult son is 25 or 60? You would need to link households over time via the people that living within them.

The best file to use to do this is the master file as it contains summary information of all people who were ever part of an enumerated household. This includes the xwaveid and, for each wave, the household id and outcome status. You would need to make some decisions about what constitutes a continuing household or a new household for your purposes.

You might also like to consider if you actually do need to think about your research question in terms of the longitudinal household concept. It may be possible to redefine it to what happens to people who live in certain types of households over time. Households are not a well-defined concept over time (as researchers would have different definitions depending on their particular research question) whereas individuals are.