Data Dictionary: ACS 2009 (1-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: C25068. Bedrooms By Gross Rent [21]
Universe: Renter-occupied housing units
Table Details
C25068. Bedrooms By Gross Rent
Universe: Renter-occupied housing units
Variable Label
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
The data on bedrooms were obtained from Housing Question 7b in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at both occupied and vacant housing units. The number of bedrooms is the count of rooms designed to be used as bedrooms, that is, the number of rooms that would be listed as bedrooms if the house, apartment, or mobile home were on the market "for sale" or "for rent". Included are all rooms intended to be used as bedrooms even if they currently are being used for some other purpose. A housing unit consisting of only one room is classified, by definition, as having no bedroom.

Bedrooms provide the basis for estimating the amount of living and sleeping spaces within a housing unit. These data allow officials to evaluate the adequacy of the housing stock to shelter the population, and to determine any housing deficiencies in neighborhoods. The data also allow officials to track the changing physical characteristics of the housing inventory over time.

Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question provided a response category for "None" and space for the respondent to enter a number of bedrooms. From 1999-2007, the question provided pre-coded response categories from "No bedroom" to "5 or more bedrooms." Starting in 2008, the question became the second part of a two-part question that linked the number of "rooms" and number of "bedrooms" questions together. In addition, the wording of the question was changed to ask, "How many of these rooms are bedrooms?" Additional changes introduced in 2008 included removing the pre-coded response categories and adding a write-in box for the respondent to enter the number of bedrooms, providing the rule to use for defining a bedroom as an instruction, and providing an additional instruction addressing efficiency and studio apartments - "If this is an efficiency/studio apartment, print '0'."

Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the bedrooms question in the 2006 ACS Content Test. The results of this testing show that the changes may introduce an inconsistency in the data produced for this question as observed from the years 2007 to 2008, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Rooms and Bedrooms" on the ACS website (

Caution should be used when comparing American Community Survey data on bedrooms from the years 2008 and after with both pre-2008 ACS and Census 2000 data. Changes made to the bedrooms question between the 2007 and 2008 ACS involving the wording as well as the response option resulted in an inconsistency in the ACS data. This inconsistency in the data was most noticeable as an increase in "No bedroom" responses and as a decrease in "1 bedroom" to "3 bedrooms" responses.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
Gross Rent
The data on gross rent were obtained from answers to Housing Questions 11a-d and 15a in the 2009 American Community Survey. Gross rent is the contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, and water and sewer) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid by the renter (or paid for the renter by someone else). Gross rent is intended to eliminate differentials that result from varying practices with respect to the inclusion of utilities and fuels as part of the rental payment. The estimated costs of water and sewer, and fuels are reported on a 12-month basis but are converted to monthly figures for the tabulations. Renter units occupied without payment of rent are shown separately as "No rent paid" in the tabulations.

Gross rent provides information on the monthly housing cost expenses for renters. When the data is used in conjunction with income data, the information offers an excellent measure of housing affordability and excessive shelter costs. The data also serve to aid in the development of housing programs to meet the needs of people at different economic levels, and to provide assistance to agencies in determining policies on fair rent.

Adjusting Gross Rent for Inflation
To inflate gross rent amounts from previous years, the dollar values are inflated to the latest years dollar values by multiplying by a factor equal to the average annual Consumer Price Index (CPI-U-RS) factor for the current year, divided by the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the earlier/earliest year.

Median Gross Rent
Median gross rent divides the gross rent distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median gross rent and one-half above the median. Median gross rent is computed on the basis of a standard distribution. (See the "Standard Distributions" section under "Appendix A") Median gross rent is rounded to the nearest whole dollar. (For more information on medians, see "Derived Measures".)

Aggregate Gross Rent
Aggregate gross rent is calculated by adding together all the gross rents for all specified housing units in an area. Aggregate gross rent is rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. (For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures".)

Question/Concept History
Since 1996, the American Community Survey questions have remained the same.

Data on gross rent in the American Community Survey should not be compared to Census 2000 gross rent data. For Census 2000, tables were not released for total renter-occupied units. The universe in Census 2000 was "specified renter-occupied housing units" whereas the universe in the ACS is "renter occupied housing units", thus comparisons cannot be made between these two data sets.