We ask questions about the presence of hot and cold running water, a bathtub or shower, a sink with a faucet, a stove or range, a refrigerator, and telephone service to create data about indicators of housing quality.
Local, state, tribal, and federal agencies use these data to plan and fund programs for housing assistance, rehabilitation loans, and other programs that help people access and afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing. Public health officials also use this information to locate areas in danger of groundwater contamination and waterborne diseases.
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 that covers information on plumbing facilities, kitchen facilities, and telephone service to better understand housing quality.
We compile the results from these questions to provide communities with important statistics to help in their housing assistance planning. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.
We ask about the quality of housing in a community to understand whether available housing meets the needs of residents. When housing is not sufficient or not affordable, data on household facilities helps communities:
We ask about the quality of homes and whether they are occupied or vacant, which helps communities identify opportunities to:
We measure the extent of telephone service to help communities ensure their residents have universal access to assistance programs, emergency services, and important information.
Substandard plumbing systems may impact the local water supply. We ask about these systems to help communities research their infrastructure needs and work to improve their systems.
Plumbing facilities and kitchen facilities originated with the 1940 Census, while telephone service originated with the 1960 Census. They were transferred to the ACS in 2005 when it replaced the decennial census long form. The telephone service question was added to the ACS in 2008. The telephone question was then modified in 2019. Research about this modification and copies of previous questionnaires are available on the ACS website.