Definition: Head of household
United Nations terminology
That person in the household who is acknowledged as such by the other members. Countries may use the term they deem most appropriate to identify this person (head of household, householder, household reference person, among others) as long as solely the person so identified is used to determine relationships between household members. The notion of head of household assumes that most households are family households and that one person in such family households has primary authority and responsibility for household affairs and is, in the majority of cases, its chief economic support. Where spouses are considered equal in household authority and responsibility and may share economic support of the household, the concept of head of household is no longer considered valid even for family households. In order for the relationship among members of the household to be determined under these circumstances, it is essential that either (a) the members of the household designate one among them as a reference member with no implication of headship or (b) provision be made for designation of joint headship where desired.
United Nations Common Database (UNCDB), based on United Nations, "Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 1", Series M, No. 67, Rev. 1, United Nations, New York, 1998