Data Dictionary: ACS 2006 -- 2008 (3-Year Estimates)
you are here: choose a survey survey data set table variable details
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Universe: Occupied housing units
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Aggregate
An aggregate is the sum of the values for each of the elements in the universe. For example, aggregate household income is the sum of the incomes of all households in a given geographic area. Means are derived by dividing the aggregate by the appropriate universe. When an aggregate used as a numerator is rounded in the detailed (base) tables, the rounded value is used for the calculation of the mean.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Income of Households
This includes the income of the householder and all other individuals 15 years old and over in the household, whether they are related to the householder or not. Because many households consist of only one person, average household income is usually less than average family income. Although the household income statistics cover the past 12 months, the characteristics of individuals and the composition of households refer to the time of interview. Thus, the income of the household does not include amounts received by individuals who were members of the household during all or part of the past 12 months if these individuals no longer resided in the household at the time of interview. Similarly, income amounts reported by individuals who did not reside in the household during the past 12 months but who were members of the household at the time of interview are included. However, the composition of most households was the same during the past 12 months as at the time of interview.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Adjusting Income for Inflation
Income components were reported for the 12 months preceding the interview month. Monthly Consumer Price Indices (CPI) factors were used to inflation-adjust these components to a reference calendar year (January through December). For example, a household interviewed in March 2008 reports their income for March 2007 through February 2008. Their income is adjusted to the 2008 reference calendar year by multiplying their reported income by 2008 average annual CPI (January-December 2008) and then dividing by the average CPI for March 2007-February 2008.

In order to inflate income amounts from previous years, the dollar values on individual records are inflated to the latest years dollar values by multiplying by a factor equal to the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the current year, divided by the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the earlier/earliest year.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Tenure
The data for tenure were obtained from Housing Question 14 in the 2008 American Community Survey. The question was asked at occupied housing units. Occupied housing units are classified as either owner occupied or renter occupied.
Owner Occupied
A housing unit is owner occupied if the owner or co-owner lives in the unit even if it is mortgaged or not fully paid for. The owner or co-owner must live in the unit and usually is Person 1 on the questionnaire. The unit is "Owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan" if it is being purchased with a mortgage or some other debt arrangement such as a deed of trust, trust deed, contract to purchase, land contract, or purchase agreement. The unit also is considered owned with a mortgage if it is built on leased land and there is a mortgage on the unit. Mobile homes occupied by owners with installment loan balances also are included in this category.

A housing unit is "Owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan)" if there is no mortgage or other similar debt on the house, apartment, or mobile home including units built on leased land if the unit is owned outright without a mortgage.
Renter Occupied
All occupied housing units which are not owner occupied, whether they are rented or occupied without payment of rent, are classified as renter occupied. "No rent paid" units are separately identified in the rent tabulations. Such units are generally provided free by friends or relatives or in exchange for services such as resident manager, caretaker, minister, or tenant farmer. Housing units on military bases also are classified in the "No rent paid" category. "Rented" includes units in continuing care, sometimes called life care arrangements. These arrangements usually involve a contract between one or more individuals and a health services provider guaranteeing the individual shelter, usually a house or apartment, and services, such as meals or transportation to shopping or recreation. (For more information, see "Meals Included in Rent.")
Question/Concept History
From 1996-2007 the American Community Survey questions were the same. Starting in 2008, the instruction "Mark (X) ONE box." was added following the question, and the instruction " Include home equity loans." was added following the response category "Owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan?" Additional changes introduced in 2008 included revising the wording of two of the response categories from "Rented for cash rent?" to "Rented?" and "Occupied without payment of cash rent?" to "Occupied without payment of rent?"
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Mortgage Status
The data on mortgage status were obtained from Housing Questions 19a and 20a in the 2008 American Community Survey. The questions were asked at owner-occupied units. "Mortgage" refers to all forms of debt where the property is pledged as security for repayment of the debt, including deeds of trust; trust deeds; contracts to purchase; land contracts; junior mortgages; and home equity loans.

A mortgage is considered a first mortgage if it has prior claim over any other mortgage or if it is the only mortgage on the property. All other mortgages (second, third, etc.) are considered junior mortgages. A home equity loan is generally a junior mortgage. If no first mortgage is reported, but a junior mortgage or home equity loan is reported, then the loan is considered a first mortgage.

In most data products, the tabulations for "Selected Monthly Owner Costs" and "Selected Monthly Owner Costs as a Percentage of Household Income" usually are shown separately for units "with a mortgage" and for units "not mortgaged." The category "not mortgaged" is comprised of housing units owned free and clear of debt.
Question/Concept History
Since 1996, the American Community Survey questions have been the same.