A group quarters is a place where people live or stay other than the usual house, apartment, or mobile home. Two general types of group quarters are recognized: institutional (for example, nursing homes, mental hospitals or wards, hospitals or wards for chronically ill patients, hospices, and prison wards) and noninstitutional (for example, college or university dormitories, military barracks, group homes, shelters, missions, and flophouses). Group quarters may have housing units on the premises for staff or guests.
A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home or trailer, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied, or, if vacant, is intended for occupancy as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other persons in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall.
For vacant units, the criteria of separateness and direct access are applied to the intended occupants wherever possible.
Both occupied and vacant housing units are included in the housing unit inventory, except that recreational vehicles, boats, vans, tents, railroad cars, and the like are included only if they are occupied as someone's usual place of residence. Vacant mobile homes are included provided they are intended for occupancy on the site where they stand. Vacant mobile homes on dealer's sales lots, at the factory, or in storage yards are excluded from the housing unit inventory.