Codes and Frequencies
MARST reports the person's current marital status.
This variable is largely comparable over time, with three exceptions:
First, the universe for marital status changed in 1982 and again in 2019. Prior to 1982, information on marital status was collected only for individuals 17 and older. Beginning in 1982 and continuing through 2018, information on marital status was collected for individuals 14 and older. Beginning in 2019, information on marital status was collected only for sample adults age 18 and older.
Second, information about whether the spouse of married respondents was present in the household was collected starting in 1973.
Third, the values of MARST changed in 2004. For the 1963-2003 samples, the values of this variable are identical to those in MARSTAT. However, from 2004 forward, the National Health Interview Survey stopped including categories for "Married - spouse present," "Married - spouse absent," and "Married - spouse in household unknown." For 2004 forward, MARST draws on information from MARSTCOHAB..
The introduction of a substantially revised questionnaire in 2019 may also affect comparability with earlier years. The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.
- 1963-1981: Persons age 17+.
- 1982-2018: Persons age 14+.
- 2019-2021: Sample adults age 18+.