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Contact:  Robert Bernstein
Public Information Office
301-763-3030/763-3762 (fax)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  TUESDAY, FEB. 22, 2011

Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development Release Data File on Chicago Metro Area Housing

American Housing Survey Data Critical to Planning, Decision-Making and Market Research in Nation's Housing Sector

     Homeowners in the Chicago metro area paid a median of $1,479 in monthly housing costs in 2009, compared with $895 for renters, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Renters, however, typically paid a higher percentage of their household income on housing costs than owners (31 percent compared with 24 percent).

    These figures come from the 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS), which provides extensive data on the quality and characteristics of the housing supply in selected metropolitan areas around the nation. Data for these areas are published on a rotating basis. In addition to Chicago, data were released today for the New York, Seattle, Philadelphia, Northern New Jersey, and Detroit metro areas.

    The survey covers a variety of specific topics, such as presence of air-conditioning, satisfaction with home and neighborhood, housing costs, presence of amenities, problems with neighborhood, reasons for choosing home and neighborhood, cost of utilities and size of home.

    “The AHS is the only source of data on many of these measures, and it is by far the most detailed source of data on the nation's housing stock,” said Tamara Cole, chief of the U.S. Census Bureau's American Housing Survey Branch. “Professionals in nearly every area of planning, decision-making and market research consult the survey, along with anyone who wants to know more about the nation's housing.”

    Other highlights on occupied housing in the Chicago metro area include:

  • Twenty-five percent of homeowners did not have a mortgage.
  • Respondents were generally very content with where they live: 73 percent rated their homes highly, which means an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 28 percent giving them a “best” rating of 10. For neighborhoods, the corresponding figures were 69 percent and 24 percent. The percentage of respondents who rated their homes versus their neighborhoods highly was not statistically different.
  • The median year homes were built was 1968.
  • Ninety-seven percent of homes reported having a smoke detector. In addition, 72 percent had a working carbon monoxide detector, 42 percent purchased or recharged a fire extinguisher in the last two years, and 7 percent had sprinkler systems in their homes.
  • Separate dining rooms were found in 49 percent of homes and usable fireplaces in 32 percent.
  • The two most common home heating fuels used were piped gas (87 percent) and electricity (11 percent). Additionally, most units (77 percent) used a warm-air furnace for heating.
  • About one-quarter of households (26 percent) reported noise from traffic as a problem and 23 percent cited crime as a concern. Ninety-three percent were satisfied with police protection in their communities.
  • The most common consideration for recent movers in choosing their neighborhood was convenience to a job (18 percent). In choosing their home, financial reasons (25 percent) was the most common reason cited.
  • Fifty-nine percent of occupied homes had three or more bedrooms, and 45 percent had two or more bathrooms.
  • Nearly seven in 10 occupied units had central air-conditioning.

    The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the American Housing Survey to update statistics for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Statistics from the AHS surveys are subject to sampling error and nonsampling error. All comparisons have been tested and found to be statistically significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise noted.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014