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Census of Housing




Historical Census of Housing Tables

Sewage Disposal

Public sewers have served a vast majority of America's homes since 1970. Almost all other homes have used a septic tank or a cesspool. Only a tiny percent had neither a public sewer, septic tank, or cesspool in recent decades. However, look at individual States. As recently as 1970, a number of States, primarily in the South (plus Alaska), had fairly large percentages of units (10 percent or more) using other means of sewage disposal. These other means would generally be a privy, a chemical toilet, or facilities in another building. By 1990, only Alaska still had a high percentage of such units.

But, how about the more distant past? Data on sewage disposal for all housing units was first collected in 1970. However, if we use an earlier item on toilet facilities, we can journey back to the first housing census in 1940.

As recently as 1950, a quarter of America's homes had no flush toilet, with some States topping 50 percent!

In 1940, over a third of the homes had no flush toilet, with some States over 70 percent! Of the 13 million units reporting no flush toilet in 1940, 11.8 million had an outside toilet or privy, another one million had no toilet or privy, while the small remainder had something called a nonflush toilet in structure.

Mississippi provides an excellent portrait of this change in America's housing over the decades. About 80 percent of its homes had no flush toilet in 1940; by 1990 a mere 4 percent lacked a public sewer, septic tank, or cesspool.


            1          9          9          0

           Public sewer     Septic tank or       Other means
                               cesspool

          Number   Per-      Number   Per-     Number   Per-
                   cent               cent              cent

US    76,455,211   74.8% 24,670,877   24.1% 1,137,590    1.1%

AL       910,782   54.5%    728,690   43.6%    30,907    1.9%
AK       144,905   62.3%     59,886   25.7%    27,817   12.0%
AZ     1,348,836   81.3%    282,897   17.0%    27,697    1.7%
AR       601,188   60.1%    382,467   38.2%    17,012    1.7%
CA    10,022,843   89.6%  1,092,174    9.8%    67,865    0.6%
CO     1,283,186   86.9%    183,817   12.4%    10,346    0.7%
CT       935,541   70.8%    378,382   28.6%     6,927    0.5%
DE       212,793   73.4%     74,541   25.7%     2,585    0.9%
DC       276,481   99.3%        575    0.2%     1,433    0.5%
FL     4,499,793   73.8%  1,559,113   25.6%    41,356    0.7%
GA     1,638,979   62.1%    970,686   36.8%    28,753    1.1%
HI       312,812   80.2%     72,940   18.7%     4,058    1.0%
ID       264,618   64.0%    142,879   34.6%     5,830    1.4%
IL     3,885,689   86.2%    598,125   13.3%    22,461    0.5%
IN     1,525,810   67.9%    703,032   31.3%    17,204    0.8%
IA       869,056   76.0%    264,889   23.2%     9,724    0.9%
KS       847,767   81.2%    187,398   17.9%     8,947    0.9%
KY       849,491   56.4%    600,182   39.8%    57,172    3.8%
LA     1,246,678   72.6%    442,758   25.8%    26,805    1.6%
ME       266,344   45.4%    301,373   51.3%    19,328    3.3%
MD     1,533,799   81.1%    342,523   18.1%    15,595    0.8%
MA     1,803,176   72.9%    659,120   26.7%    10,415    0.4%
MI     2,724,408   70.8%  1,090,481   28.3%    33,037    0.9%
MN     1,356,520   73.4%    467,936   25.3%    23,989    1.3%
MS       585,185   57.9%    387,406   38.3%    37,832    3.7%
MO     1,617,996   73.6%    532,844   24.2%    48,289    2.2%
MT       218,372   60.5%    135,371   37.5%     7,412    2.1%
NE       534,692   80.9%    117,460   17.8%     8,469    1.3%
NV       456,107   87.9%     60,508   11.7%     2,243    0.4%
NH       250,060   49.6%    246,692   49.0%     7,152    1.4%
NJ     2,703,489   87.9%    357,890   11.6%    13,931    0.5%
NM       452,934   71.7%    161,068   25.5%    18,056    2.9%
NY     5,716,917   79.1%  1,460,873   20.2%    49,101    0.7%
NC     1,403,033   49.8%  1,365,632   48.5%    49,528    1.8%
ND       204,328   73.9%     66,479   24.1%     5,533    2.0%
OH     3,392,785   77.6%    940,943   21.5%    38,217    0.9%
OK     1,028,594   73.1%    367,197   26.1%    10,708    0.8%
OR       835,545   70.0%    349,122   29.3%     8,900    0.7%
PA     3,670,338   74.3%  1,210,054   24.5%    57,748    1.2%
RI       293,901   70.9%    118,410   28.6%     2,261    0.5%
SC       825,754   58.0%    578,129   40.6%    20,272    1.4%
SD       207,996   71.1%     78,435   26.8%     6,005    2.1%
TN     1,213,934   59.9%    781,616   38.6%    30,517    1.5%
TX     5,690,550   81.2%  1,266,713   18.1%    51,736    0.7%
UT       528,864   88.4%     65,403   10.9%     4,121    0.7%
VT       115,201   42.5%    149,125   55.0%     6,888    2.5%
VA     1,740,787   69.7%    707,409   28.3%    48,138    1.9%
WA     1,387,396   68.3%    630,646   31.0%    14,336    0.7%
WV       427,930   54.8%    318,697   40.8%    34,668    4.4%
WI     1,440,024   70.0%    580,836   28.3%    34,914    1.7%
WY       151,004   74.2%     49,055   24.1%     3,352    1.6%


            1          9          8          0

           Public sewer     Septic tank or       Other means
                               cesspool

          Number   Per-      Number   Per-     Number   Per-
                   cent               cent              cent

US    64,240,532   74.0% 20,926,961   24.1% 1,591,224    1.8%

AL       771,748   53.2%    607,358   41.9%    71,649    4.9%
AK       104,797   68.0%     31,262   20.3%    17,992   11.7%
AZ       869,862   81.2%    180,665   16.9%    21,260    2.0%
AR       514,653   57.9%    336,712   37.9%    37,828    4.3%
CA     8,251,415   89.5%    920,690   10.0%    51,015    0.6%
CO     1,019,477   87.2%    138,742   11.9%    11,355    1.0%
CT       781,657   68.3%    357,446   31.2%     5,417    0.5%
DE       172,294   74.8%     54,970   23.9%     3,037    1.3%
DC       274,913   99.3%        402    0.1%     1,542    0.6%
FL     3,076,260   71.9%  1,167,676   27.3%    34,698    0.8%
GA     1,214,548   60.3%    737,539   36.6%    61,752    3.1%
HI       270,701   81.5%     57,576   17.3%     3,928    1.2%
ID       229,481   63.7%    124,832   34.7%     5,718    1.6%
IL     3,656,245   84.9%    614,499   14.3%    33,681    0.8%
IN     1,361,704   65.9%    676,718   32.8%    26,693    1.3%
IA       830,489   74.1%    273,536   24.4%    17,289    1.5%
KS       752,124   79.1%    183,803   19.3%    14,584    1.5%
KY       736,144   54.3%    510,637   37.7%   108,653    8.0%
LA     1,101,516   71.7%    401,695   26.1%    33,972    2.2%
ME       214,145   50.0%    198,629   46.4%    15,471    3.6%
MD     1,232,785   79.6%    294,286   19.0%    22,609    1.5%
MA     1,581,814   73.9%    550,629   25.7%     8,921    0.4%
MI     2,463,078   71.4%    954,965   27.7%    32,653    0.9%
MN     1,144,993   74.8%    362,120   23.7%    23,180    1.5%
MS       510,732   56.5%    319,285   35.3%    74,506    8.2%
MO     1,418,141   72.3%    475,424   24.2%    69,011    3.5%
MT       201,014   63.8%    107,018   34.0%     7,066    2.2%
NE       492,946   79.7%    114,257   18.5%    11,630    1.9%
NV       294,758   87.3%     41,241   12.2%     1,650    0.5%
NH       182,656   52.3%    161,386   46.2%     5,130    1.5%
NJ     2,327,869   86.5%    350,598   13.0%    11,910    0.4%
NM       361,847   73.3%    111,967   22.7%    19,675    4.0%
NY     5,279,298   78.7%  1,375,362   20.5%    51,539    0.8%
NC     1,040,451   46.8%  1,084,336   48.8%    99,409    4.5%
ND       182,570   72.2%     62,357   24.7%     7,822    3.1%
OH     3,108,321   76.2%    911,386   22.3%    58,357    1.4%
OK       908,666   73.9%    301,354   24.5%    19,502    1.6%
OR       735,626   68.6%    326,213   30.4%     9,774    0.9%
PA     3,360,158   74.5%  1,083,043   24.0%    69,473    1.5%
RI       248,174   68.4%    112,663   31.0%     2,081    0.6%
SC       596,811   53.1%    480,455   42.8%    45,661    4.1%
SD       189,988   70.5%     71,743   26.6%     7,913    2.9%
TN       979,399   56.4%    687,054   39.6%    70,670    4.1%
TX     4,461,444   81.3%    938,671   17.1%    85,158    1.6%
UT       421,923   87.7%     56,700   11.8%     2,443    0.5%
VT        91,707   46.7%     99,752   50.8%     5,000    2.5%
VA     1,315,815   65.8%    593,912   29.7%    90,348    4.5%
WA     1,117,544   67.7%    520,354   31.5%    13,782    0.8%
WV       381,110   51.7%    297,401   40.4%    58,522    7.9%
WI     1,262,265   71.9%    467,986   26.6%    26,060    1.5%
WY       142,456   78.1%     37,656   20.7%     2,235    1.2%

1980 data are presented for year-round housing units;
 vacant seasonal and migratory were excluded.


            1          9          7          0

           Public sewer     Septic tank or       Other means
                               cesspool

          Number   Per-      Number   Per-     Number   Per-
                   cent               cent              cent

US    48,187,675   71.2% 16,601,792   24.5% 2,904,375    4.3%

AL       566,307   50.8%    385,345   34.6%   163,139   14.6%
AK        55,511   62.7%     18,629   21.0%    14,423   16.3%
AZ       446,304   77.1%    114,433   19.8%    18,013    3.1%
AR       355,684   52.9%    220,287   32.7%    96,999   14.4%
CA     6,084,632   87.2%    853,013   12.2%    38,324    0.5%
CO       612,659   82.5%    113,290   15.3%    16,689    2.2%
CT       608,603   62.8%    354,585   36.6%     5,633    0.6%
DE       130,259   74.4%     39,860   22.8%     4,870    2.8%
DC       277,068   99.5%        454    0.2%       871    0.3%
FL     1,509,682   60.6%    938,352   37.7%    42,743    1.7%
GA       848,516   57.9%    474,455   32.4%   143,654    9.8%
HI       161,438   74.8%     50,558   23.4%     3,844    1.8%
ID       137,891   57.9%     93,146   39.1%     7,266    3.0%
IL     3,072,266   83.2%    554,603   15.0%    65,080    1.8%
IN     1,060,942   62.0%    589,794   34.5%    61,061    3.6%
IA       662,320   69.4%    257,889   27.0%    34,829    3.6%
KS       594,758   75.5%    163,918   20.8%    28,808    3.7%
KY       536,388   50.6%    312,856   29.5%   211,328   19.9%
LA       778,247   67.9%    287,481   25.1%    80,245    7.0%
ME       169,975   50.1%    140,409   41.4%    28,817    8.5%
MD       953,470   77.2%    243,728   19.7%    37,271    3.0%
MA     1,339,304   72.8%    490,365   26.7%     9,120    0.5%
MI     1,947,137   68.4%    847,433   29.8%    50,509    1.8%
MN       864,984   70.9%    307,441   25.2%    47,070    3.9%
MS       338,581   48.6%    209,115   30.0%   149,514   21.4%
MO     1,173,688   70.5%    359,278   21.6%   132,617    8.0%
MT       154,581   64.2%     74,198   30.8%    11,974    5.0%
NE       385,860   75.4%    105,320   20.6%    20,266    4.0%
NV       147,743   86.1%     21,988   12.8%     1,951    1.1%
NH       132,475   53.3%    109,015   43.8%     7,231    2.9%
NJ     1,890,977   82.0%    404,241   17.5%    10,123    0.4%
NM       230,737   71.6%     65,781   20.4%    25,722    8.0%
NY     4,824,525   78.3%  1,289,253   20.9%    44,883    0.7%
NC       733,848   45.3%    687,572   42.5%   197,859   12.2%
ND       128,967   64.3%     53,074   26.5%    18,457    9.2%
OH     2,565,317   74.4%    779,510   22.6%   102,566    3.0%
OK       686,240   73.2%    203,174   21.7%    48,413    5.2%
OR       448,967   61.0%    275,944   37.5%    10,559    1.4%
PA     2,798,522   72.1%    985,014   25.4%    96,502    2.5%
RI       197,947   64.4%    107,544   35.0%     1,843    0.6%
SC       363,611   45.2%    334,210   41.5%   106,996   13.3%
SD       140,258   63.3%     62,366   28.1%    18,970    8.6%
TN       671,248   51.8%    457,008   35.2%   168,672   13.0%
TX     2,989,684   78.5%    654,283   17.2%   164,950    4.3%
UT       258,649   82.9%     49,249   15.8%     3,976    1.3%
VT        72,264   48.2%     68,265   45.6%     9,315    6.2%
VA       906,030   61.0%    408,213   27.5%   170,580   11.5%
WA       786,551   65.3%    403,909   33.5%    14,464    1.2%
WV       304,151   51.3%    187,028   31.6%   101,600   17.1%
WI       994,926   70.3%    371,567   26.2%    49,549    3.5%
WY        86,983   75.9%     23,349   20.4%     4,217    3.7%

1970 data are presented for year-round housing units;
 vacant seasonal and migratory were excluded.


     UNITS LACKING A FLUSH TOILET:  1960

      All housing          No flush toilet
            units
                             Number   Per-
                                      cent

US    58,318,297          5,978,261   10.3%

AL       967,517            290,967   30.1%
AK        67,193             15,778   23.5%
AZ       415,790             35,541    8.5%
AR       586,504            208,848   35.6%
CA     5,465,244             93,220    1.7%
CO       594,448             49,124    8.3%
CT       818,476             10,536    1.3%
DE       143,703             11,244    7.8%
DC       262,639                290    0.1%
FL     1,776,946            104,674    5.9%
GA     1,169,915            274,070   23.4%
HI       165,473             10,246    6.2%
ID       223,533             23,727   10.6%
IL     3,275,171            185,045    5.6%
IN     1,503,044            155,754   10.4%
IA       905,267            112,730   12.5%
KS       740,265             83,146   11.2%
KY       925,434            307,366   33.2%
LA       978,425            184,962   18.9%
ME       364,611             66,887   18.3%
MD       934,344             66,682    7.1%
MA     1,690,950             15,344    0.9%
MI     2,548,476            153,776    6.0%
MN     1,116,933            154,619   13.8%
MS       628,945            247,971   39.4%
MO     1,491,321            252,163   16.9%
MT       233,277             32,732   14.0%
NE       472,917             55,423   11.7%
NV       101,558              5,116    5.0%
NH       224,404             15,679    7.0%
NJ     1,998,681             28,803    1.4%
NM       281,894             48,837   17.3%
NY     5,694,549            101,085    1.8%
NC     1,322,893            361,696   27.3%
ND       194,597             52,177   26.8%
OH     3,041,049            224,112    7.4%
OK       815,636            127,515   15.6%
OR       622,761             35,741    5.7%
PA     3,581,428            209,022    5.8%
RI       286,707              4,317    1.5%
SC       678,356            190,878   28.1%
SD       216,449             50,482   23.3%
TN     1,084,340            302,649   27.9%
TX     3,153,095            395,979   12.6%
UT       262,623              9,659    3.7%
VT       136,307             10,928    8.0%
VA     1,168,667            252,034   21.6%
WA     1,009,496             47,333    4.7%
WV       574,354            159,694   27.8%
WI     1,288,608            128,851   10.0%
WY       113,084             12,809   11.3%



     UNITS LACKING A FLUSH TOILET:  1950

     Units reporting       No flush toilet
     toilet facilities
                             Number   Per-
                                      cent

US    45,261,040         11,086,857   24.5%            

AL       833,884            461,408   55.3%
AK        30,442             13,169   43.3%
AZ       236,143             67,029   28.4%
AR       567,585            355,069   62.6%
CA     3,543,969            268,517    7.6%
CO       429,666            117,945   27.5%
CT       599,206             27,787    4.6%
DE        95,614             20,221   21.1%
DC       226,932              7,374    3.2%
FL       935,728            209,387   22.4%
GA       951,381            475,727   50.0%
HI       119,940             23,597   19.7%
ID       185,712             59,392   32.0%
IL     2,630,569            431,947   16.4%
IN     1,216,217            346,539   28.5%
IA       802,285            261,591   32.6%
KS       616,112            200,050   32.5%
KY       810,387            442,645   54.6%
LA       766,493            343,536   44.8%
ME       299,663             91,178   30.4%
MD       677,241            115,265   17.0%
MA     1,374,131             47,172    3.4%
MI     1,933,138            320,137   16.6%
MN       906,438            282,965   31.2%
MS       601,704            399,948   66.5%
MO     1,245,651            453,039   36.4%
MT       190,990             66,339   34.7%
NE       409,262            132,125   32.3%
NV        54,683             10,932   20.0%
NH       184,419             30,230   16.4%
NJ     1,479,390             77,961    5.3%
NM       193,601             84,574   43.7%
NY     4,535,415            238,433    5.3%
NC     1,044,962            540,851   51.8%
ND       173,032             98,479   56.9%
OH     2,372,280            440,537   18.6%
OK       704,454            275,568   39.1%
OR       516,506             95,261   18.4%
PA     2,995,233            461,664   15.4%
RI       241,855             12,229    5.1%
SC       548,890            291,717   53.1%
SD       192,273             96,300   50.1%
TN       910,715            471,307   51.8%
TX     2,359,715            803,355   34.0%
UT       198,098             28,038   14.2%
VT       119,130             21,058   17.7%
VA       887,918            357,730   40.3%
WA       793,990            106,094   13.4%
WV       537,402            250,060   46.5%
WI     1,040,368            261,232   25.1%
WY        90,610             28,915   31.9%

Alaska and Hawaii are not included in 1950 U.S. total


     UNITS LACKING A FLUSH TOILET:  1940

     Units reporting       No flush toilet
     toilet facilities
                             Number   Per-
                                      cent

US    36,769,610         12,975,770   35.3% 

AL       694,670            493,059   71.0%
AK            NA                 NA     NA 
AZ       144,471             69,023   47.8%
AR       512,354            402,090   78.5%
CA     2,309,234            237,002   10.3%
CO       348,133            144,699   41.6%
CT       481,116             44,277    9.2%
DE        74,816             24,209   32.4%
DC       182,504              9,906    5.4%
FL       578,910            212,037   36.6%
GA       781,040            516,060   66.1%
HI            NA                 NA     NA
ID       149,771             81,983   54.7%
IL     2,254,104            544,059   24.1%
IN       992,520            433,210   43.6%
IA       716,758            340,330   47.5%
KS       537,992            283,226   52.6%
KY       717,800            474,921   66.2%
LA       610,543            371,460   60.8%
ME       255,455             99,750   39.0%
MD       490,084            146,676   29.9%
MA     1,202,192             71,611    6.0%
MI     1,500,272            407,822   27.2%
MN       763,297            324,181   42.5%
MS       547,177            444,774   81.3%
MO     1,125,810            534,216   47.5%
MT       174,838             92,459   52.9%
NE       383,089            189,351   49.4%
NV        35,912             13,956   38.9%
NH       154,579             38,157   24.7%
NJ     1,206,073            107,530    8.9%
NM       142,483             97,683   68.6%
NY     3,959,873            330,226    8.3%
NC       805,457            528,073   65.6%
ND       160,397            117,004   72.9%
OH     1,956,400            529,967   27.1%
OK       635,755            381,054   59.9%
OR       363,770            109,553   30.1%
PA     2,582,714            621,875   24.1%
RI       202,071             18,509    9.2%
SC       451,718            310,392   68.7%
SD       176,452            118,307   67.0%
TN       731,931            475,377   64.9%
TX     1,776,475            960,773   54.1%
UT       146,097             46,087   31.5%
VT       104,948             30,271   28.8%
VA       651,018            367,546   56.5%
WA       581,310            149,699   25.8%
WV       452,430            263,530   58.2%
WI       887,242            328,742   37.1%
WY        75,555             39,068   51.7%



Contact the Physical and Social Characteristics Branch at 301-763-3237 or visit ask.census.gov for further information.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division
Last Revised: October 31, 2011