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Plumbing and Kitchen Facilities in Housing Units

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For many years, the Census Bureau has asked about plumbing and kitchen facilities in the Decennial Census and the American Community Survey. The facilities are:

  • Hot and cold running water
  • A flush toilet
  • A bathtub or shower
  • A sink with a faucet
  • A stove or range
  • A refrigerator

The Census Bureau considers housing units having each of the first three facilities to have complete plumbing facilities, and housing units having each of the last three facilities to have complete kitchen facilities. The Census Bureau publishes tables on complete plumbing facilities and complete kitchen facilities.

Through the 2014 Content Review process, we learned that there are Federal agencies that have mandatory and required uses for the data on plumbing and kitchen facilities. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development uses the data from these questions to identify housing units that have all of the six listed facilities (referred to in this paper as having “fully complete facilities”).

However, asking explicitly about flush toilets has resulted in negative attention from the public. Given that, we studied some of the effects of removing the flush toilet question and leaving the other facilities questions on the survey, focusing on changes in the measurement of housing units with fully complete facilities and complete plumbing facilities.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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