- What is the American Housing Survey?
- Who uses the American Housing Survey?
- What’s new for the American Housing Survey?
- What does the American Housing Survey consider to be a ‘housing unit’?
- Who are American Housing Survey respondents?
- How frequently is the American Housing Survey conducted?
- When are results released?
- What are the future plans for the American Housing Survey?
What is the American Housing Survey? back to top
The American Housing Survey (AHS), the most comprehensive housing survey in the U.S., provides up-to-date information on the size and composition of the housing stock in our country. As the population increases, so does the demand for housing. This survey delivers much needed 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.
National data are collected every other year and metropolitan area data are collected on a rotating basis. The AHS is sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The AHS provides current information on a wide range of housing subjects, including size and composition of the nation’s housing inventory, vacancies, fuel usage, physical condition of housing units, characteristics of occupants, equipment breakdowns, home improvements, mortgages and other housing costs, people eligible for and beneficiaries of subsidized housing, home values, and characteristics of recent movers.
Who uses the American Housing Survey? back to top
Policy analysts, program managers, budget analysts, and Congressional staff use AHS data to monitor supply and demand, as well as changes in housing conditions and costs, in order to assess housing needs. Analyses based on the AHS are used to advise the executive and legislative branches in the development of housing policies. HUD uses the AHS to improve efficiency and effectiveness and design housing programs appropriate for different target groups, such as first-time home buyers and the elderly. Academic researchers and private organizations also use AHS data in efforts of specific interest and concern to their respective communities.
What’s new for the American Housing Survey? back to top
The 2013 AHS includes topical supplements on public transportation, emergency and disaster preparedness, community involvement, neighborhood characteristics, and doubled-up households (movers entering and leaving unit). Topical supplements added in 2011 (health and safety hazards, modifications made to assist occupants with disabilities, and energy efficiency) were dropped, but may rotate back into the questionnaire in subsequent surveys.
What does the American Housing Survey consider to be a ‘housing unit’? back to top
A housing unit is a house, apartment, group of rooms, or single room occupied or intended for occupancy as separate living quarters.
Occupied and vacant units are counted, except the following if they are vacant: a) tents, caves, boats, railroad cars, and the like; b) structures intended for nonresidential use; c) units used for business storage; and d) units unfit for human habitation (roofs, walls, windows, or doors no longer protect the interior from weather, or there is positive evidence, such as a sign on the house or block, that the unit is to be demolished or is condemned.
Who are American Housing Survey respondents? back to top
- Occupied housing units – A household respondent, who must be a knowledgeable household member age 16 or over, provides information on the unit, the household composition, and income.
- Vacant Housing Units – A landlord, owner, real estate agent, or knowledgeable neighbor can provide data on the unit.
How frequently is the American Housing Survey conducted? back to top
The AHS is conducted every two years from May and September in odd-numbered years. HUD sometimes adjusts this schedule and/or sample depending on budget constraints.
When are results released? back to top
Public use microdata and reports are released approximately 12 months after data collection.
What are the future plans for the American Housing Survey? back to top
Current plans call for a complete AHS sample redesign beginning with the 2015 survey. As a result, data collected in 2015 will not be comparable with previous years.