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The American Housing Survey

Rancho Cordova, CA
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Aerial view of Rancho Cordova, CA, 2008.

The American Housing Survey (AHS) provides an inventory of homes and new construction in the United States, along with data on homeowners and the physical condition of houses. Begun in 1973 as the Annual Housing Survey, the AHS is a joint program of the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

That first survey, the product of two years of planning and testing, sampled over 50,000 occupied and unoccupied homes; enumerators recorded the physical conditions of each, and asked additional questions when homeowners were present. In 1981, the Census Bureau began conducting the Annual Housing Survey every other year; because of this, it changed the name to the American Housing Survey in 1984.

Today, the national sample for AHS covers around 55,000 homes. Special samples for major metropolitan areas cover between 4,000 and 5,000 homes.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: December 14, 2023