Cultural Factors Affecting Within Household Coverage and Proxy Reporting In Hispanic (Salvadoran) Households. A Pilot Study

Ruth B. McKay


The results of an ethnographic field study of Salvadoran and non-Hispanic White households in suburban Maryland suggested a possible cause of Hispanic male undercount in household surveys. Both female-headed and two-parent Salvadoran households frequently included one or more boarders, and twice as many of the boarders were males. The boarders slept on living-room couches, left early in the morning and returned late in the evening, and were peripheral to the life and organization of the household. Respondents tended not to report the boarders as members of the household. This paper describes the effects of the boarders' peripheral status on within-household under coverage and proxy reporting of employment characteristics in surveys of Salvadoran households.