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   AHS Updates

Enhanced Census AHS website

In order to provide one stop shopping for AHS data, HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau have developed a new Census AHS website. This website includes:

  • All AHS summary tables from 1974 - 2011
  • All AHS national and metropolitan samples microdata from 1974 - 2011 in both SAS and CSV format
  • Updated AHS documentation

census logo   All data and documentation is available on the Census website

  The AHS Research Program

report icon AHS Components of Inventory Change (CINCH) reports
The Components of Inventory Change (CINCH) report measures changes in the characteristics of the housing stock of the United States. Using data collected from the national American Housing Survey (AHS), conducted every two years, the characteristics of individual housing units are compared across time.

report icon AHS Housing Affordability Data System
The Housing Affordability Data System (HADS) is a set of files derived from the 1985 and later national American Housing Survey (AHS) and the 2002 and later Metro AHS.

AHS Research Reports

Report Title

Category

Year

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New AHS PUF Information on HUD-Assisted Rental Housing

This report highlights two new features of the 2011 AHS that provide enhanced information on rental housing units that receive subsidies from HUD.

Research

2014

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Between-Survey Changes in the Number of Bedrooms in a Unit

This paper examines the extent to which bedroom counts for units in the American Housing Survey (AHS) change between surveys and how this variation affects the analysis of rental affordability.

Research

2013

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Analysis of Trends in Household Composition Using AHS Data

This report evaluates changes in AHS household composition from 2003 to 2009, particularly those changes that reflect an increase in doubled-up households.

Research

2013

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American Housing Survey: A Measure of (Poor) Housing Quality

This report develops a Poor Quality Index (PQI) that measures the level of physical deficiencies in American Housing Survey (AHS) sample housing units.

Research

2013

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American Housing Survey: Housing Adequacy and Quality As Measured by the AHS

This report examines the AHS measure of housing adequacy and defines which physical problems most often result in a unit being labeled as severely inadequate.

Research

2013

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Disability Variables in the American Housing Survey

This report compares disability data in the AHS with other Federal surveys and explores why the AHS shows lower incidences of units with disabilities.

Technical Report

2013

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Housing Units that Serve Both the Renter and Owner Markets

This study uses linked AHS data over the period 1985-2009 to examine units that change tenure between owner-occupied and renter-occupied, in either direction.

Research

2011

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2007 American Community Survey: A Comparison to Selected Housing and Financial Characteristics for The United States From the 2007 American Housing Survey

The American Community Survey (ACS) and the American Housing Survey (AHS) attempt to measure many of the same concepts and characteristics.

Technical Report

2011

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Imputation via Triangular Regression-Based Hot Deck

This HUD report describes the imputation system developed for the 2005 AHS Income variables

Research

2007

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Evaluation of the 2005 Changes in the AHS Income Questionnaire

This HUD report compares income data from 2003 and 2005. In 2005, AHS adopted income questions similar to those used by the ACS.

Research

2007

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Housing Data between the Censuses

A guide to the American Housing Survey and related housing data sources.

Research

2004

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These Old Houses: 2001

This report uses the 2001 AHS to compare the characteristics of housing units built before 1920 to those built in 1990 or later.

Research

2004

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American Housing Survey: A Quality Profile

This 1996 report describes potential sources of errors in AHS data and quality control procedures used in the operation of the survey.

Research

1996

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Our Nation’s Housing in 1993

This report examines the demographic, economic, and physical housing characteristics of the housing stock using the 1993 AHS.

Research

1995

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Investigating Very High Rent Burdens Among Renters in the American Housing Survey

This research examines the demographic characteristics, causes, and persistence of renter households with high rent burdens.

Research

2010

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Combining the American Housing Survey and the American Community Survey to Produce Information Useful in Public Emergency Situations: An Exploratory Analysis

This research project explores the possibility of using small-area statistical techniques to generate information for areas not covered by the AHS.

Technical Report

2009

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2007 Metropolitan Disaster Planning Analytical Support of the American Housing Survey

This report documents the information in the AHS that is useful for disaster-planning analyses.

Technical Report

2009

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Trends in Housing Costs: 1985-2005 and the 30-Percent-of-Income Standard

This study examines why housing costs have changed so much relative to income over time and what benchmark to use to measure housing affordability.

Research

2008

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Data on Home Mortgage Finance from the 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005 American Housing Surveys

The purpose of this report is to help researchers and policymakers evaluate how well the AHS housing finance data can serve their needs.

Research

2008

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Measuring Overcrowding in Housing

Using data from the 1985 and 2005 AHS, this study evaluates the incidence of crowding and its undesirable effects on occupants.

Research

2007

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32 Years of Housing Data

This report documents the long-term changes in major measures of the size, composition, and quality of housing in the nation from 1973 to 2005.

Research

2007

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Analysis of Racial Characterization under Different Reporting Options

This report uses longitudinal data from the AHS to evaluate the effect of the U.S. Census Bureau’s change in race data collection.

Research

2006

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Characteristics of Units and Their Occupants Associated with Changes in Tenure Status

This study uses the longitudinal features of the AHS to identify the characteristics of units that change from owner occupied to renter occupied and vice versa.

Research

2006

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Elderly Housing Consumption: Historical Patterns and Projected Trends

This report uses American Housing Survey data to consider the implications of the aging of the population for the size and characteristics of the housing stock.

Research

2005

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Commuting Patterns and the Housing Stock

This paper explores ways to merge the AHS with another survey to produce a synthetic dataset more suitable to testing the spatial mismatch hypothesis.

Research

2005

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Impact of Moving and Job Changes on Commuting Time

This study uses the commuting data collected by the AHS to examine the relationship between commuting time and household moves for different household types.

Research

2005

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Effects of Changes in Ownership on Repair and Remodeling Behavior in Owner-Occupied Housing

This study uses data from the AHS to explore the kinds of home improvement projects that are performed just before or after a change in ownership.

Research

2005

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Rental Market Dynamics: Is Affordable Housing For the Poor an Endangered Species?

This study uses AHS metropolitan data from 1995 to 1999 to examine changes in the affordable rental stock for six metropolitan areas.

Research

2003

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The Destruction of Housing Capital: A Preliminary Exploration into Demolitions and Disasters

The goal of this paper is to examine how to conceptualize and use the AHS to analyze losses in the housing stock.

Research

2003

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Analysis of Housing Finance Issues Using the American Housing Survey (AHS)

This study evaluates the limitations of using the AHS for mortgage market analysis and offers proposals on how these problems could be solved.

Technical Report

2003

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American Housing Survey-Metropolitan Sample Assessment Project

This report evaluates the usefulness of collecting metropolitan data in the AHS.

Technical Report

2000

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Streamlining the American Housing Survey

This HUD report includes recommendations to streamline the AHS by eliminating or modifying content that is currently of marginal usefulness.

Technical Report

2009

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Comparison of Housing Information from the American Housing Survey and the American Community Survey

This report compares housing information and 2005 estimates for the AHS and the ACS, and provides guidance on how and when to use the two surveys.

Technical Report

2007

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The American Housing Survey and Non-Traditional Mortgage Products

This HUD report suggests changes to the AHS mortgage questions with the objective of obtaining more information on the non-traditional mortgage products.

Technical Report

2007

 

  User's Corner

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the American Housing Survey about? back to top ↑

The American Housing Survey provides up-to-date information on the size and composition of the housing inventory in the United States. As the country grows, so does the demand for housing. There is a great need for information about the types of homes in which people are now living and the characteristics of these homes, as well as the costs of running and maintaining them.


How is this information used? back to top ↑

Information from the survey is used at all levels of government to help inform decisions and analyze housing trends. Private organizations use the information to make business plans regarding the nation’s housing and households. The survey is also a rich source of data for academics and other researchers who want to understand the dynamics of housing. Information collected is protected under Title 13, Section 9, United States Code. All Census Bureau employees take an oath not to divulge any personal information collected during this survey. For more information about privacy protection, click on Title 13 - Protection of Confidential Information.


How do I view the publication? back to top ↑

Just click on American Housing Survey for the United States: 2009. [PDF - 5.77M]


How is the survey sample selected? back to top ↑

The sample units are chosen by address, not by household. The addresses are randomly chosen throughout the United States. If an occupant moves from a unit, the new occupant or a knowledgeable person in the area will be interviewed. For more detailed information regarding sample selection and weighting, click on Sample Designs [PDF - 41K].


How many housing units are there in the United States? back to top ↑

There were 130,112,000 housing units in the United States in 2009. Approximately 111,806,000 were occupied as regular residences and 18,306,000 were vacant or seasonal.

Table 1-1 [XLS - 74K]


How many owner-occupied units are there in the United States? back to top ↑

Approximately 76,428,000 or 68.4 percent of the occupied units were owners in 2009.

Table 1-1 [XLS - 74K]
Table 2-1 [XLS - 51K]


What is the median value of an owner-occupied home in the United States? back to top ↑

In 2009, the median value of owner occupied homes was $170,000.

Table 3-14 [XLS - 52K]


What is the median age of owner-occupied units in the United States? back to top ↑

The median owner-occupied home was 34 years old in 2009.

Table 1-1 [XLS - 74K]


How many renter-occupied units are there in the United States? back to top ↑

In 2009, approximately 35,378,000 units were occupied by renters (or 31.6 percent of all occupied units).

Table 1-1 [XLS - 74K]

Table 4-1 [XLS - 45K]


How much does it cost to live in the median rental unit? back to top ↑

In 2009, the median monthly housing cost (rent, utilities, and garbage and trash collection) for renter occupied homes was $808.

Table 4-13 [XLS - 42K]


What proportion of their income do renters spend on their homes? back to top ↑

The cost of housing was 34 percent of the current income for renter occupied units in 2009.

Table 4-13 [XLS - 42K]


Do all occupied homes have a central heating system? back to top ↑

Approximately 96,911,000 homes or 86.7 percent of all occupied homes in the United States had a central heating system in 2009.

Table 2-4 [XLS - 57K]


How many occupied homes have central air conditioning? back to top ↑

In 2009, 72,808,000 homes or 65.1 percent of all occupied homes in the United States had central air conditioning; another 22.0 percent had room units.

Table 2-4 [XLS - 57K]


Why doesn’t the AHS match the American Community Survey? back to top ↑

Just click on Comparison of Housing Information from the American Housing Survey and the American Community Survey on HUD’s website or see this report comparing the 2007 surveys [PDF - 995K].


Do you forecast housing data? back to top ↑

The Census Bureau does not forecast housing or construction data. One source for housing forecasts is the National Association of Home Builders .


Do you have any information on the luxury home market (e.g., data on homes over one million)? back to top ↑

The top home value category the AHS publishes is $750,000 or more. The PUF is an alternative source, but home values are topcoded to protect the confidentiality of respondents.


Do you have data on the sales of existing homes? back to top ↑

No, we have information on the purchase price of respondent’s home, but the National Association of Realtors publishes data on existing home sales.


Does the AHS have state or county data? back to top ↑

The AHS doesn't provide state data (the sample size is too small to generate reliable state estimates), but we do publish selected metro areas every so often. Depending on the area of interest, the ACS has state and lower level data. Some, but not all, data collected in the AHS is also available in the ACS. If you have any questions about ACS data you can contact the experts at 1-888-456-7215 or mailto:cmo.acs@census.gov.

The American Housing Survey (AHS, formerly Annual Housing Survey) can answer many of your questions about U.S. people and homes.

The AHS is the largest, regular national housing sample survey in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the AHS to obtain up-to-date housing statistics for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). An introductory booklet created by Census Bureau provides an overview of housing data and tells you where to find these data. You can download the PDF version from: http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/ahsr04-1.pdf

The AHS contains a wealth of information that can be used by professionals in nearly every field for planning, decisionmaking, market research, or various kinds of program development. It gives you data on apartments, single-family homes, mobile homes, vacant homes, family composition, income, housing and neighborhood quality, housing costs, equipment, fuels, size of housing unit, and recent movers. National data are collected every other year, from a fixed sample of about 50,000 homes, plus new construction each year. The survey started in 1973, and has had the same sample since 1985, letting you see homes and households changing over the years. In some metropolitan areas we have additional samples every 4-6 years, to measure local conditions.

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User-Submitted Code

Users who feel their code may be valuable to other research should submit their code to Shawn.J.Bucholtz@hud.gov. Code and documentation will be published on this site.

  AHS Outreach

A recent interview by Shawn Bucholtz with Federal News Radio on the American Housing Survey, providing a comprehensive overview of its purpose and methodology.

Disability and Accessibility Variables in the American Housing Market
This webinar features one of PD&R's Senior Economists, David Vandenbroucke, discussing the 2011 AHS topical module that covers accessibility features.

  Redesigning the American Housing Survey for 2015

White Papers and Articles

Federal Register Notices