We ask questions about home heating fuel to create statistics about home energy use.
These data are used in government programs that analyze community air quality and energy needs. Federal agencies use these statistics to forecast future energy demand, analyze the fuels available to community residents, and plan and fund programs that help low-income residents afford to heat their homes.
We use your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those in the results below and in the full tables that contain all the data—no one is able to figure out your survey answers from the statistics we produce. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.
We ask one question about fuel used to better understand how people heat their homes.
The results from this question are compiled to provide communities with important statistics about housing characteristics. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.
We want to know more about which fuel is used to heat homes in combination with the cost of those fuels and the characteristics of the low-income households that need assistance with their utilities. This information helps communities enroll eligible households in assistance programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and qualify for grants to fund assistance. These data are also used to evaluate whether these programs benefit eligible households.
Information on the current users of certain heating systems and the kinds of systems used in new homes helps communities predict future demand for fuels and the future costs of systems in use in a community. For example, the Department of Energy uses these data to project demand over the next 30 years, assessing the energy needs of the U.S. economy in a domestic and international context.
Communities with older heating systems may have lower air quality at times when they are in high use. Home heating fuel data are used to develop an inventory of the national aggregate emissions of each greenhouse gas and to research and report on the relationships among different development patterns (including housing and travel information) and public health and pollution (Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act).
The home heating fuel question originated with the 1940 Census. It was transferred to the ACS in 2005 when it replaced the decennial census long form.