Data Dictionary: ACS 2007 -- 2009 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Grandparents living with own grandchildren under 18 years in households
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Units in Structure
The data on units in structure (also referred to as "type of structure") were obtained from Housing Question 1 in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at occupied and vacant housing units. A structure is a separate building that either has open spaces on all sides or is separated from other structures by dividing walls that extend from ground to roof. In determining the number of units in a structure, all housing units, both occupied and vacant, are counted. Stores and office space are excluded. The data are presented for the number of housing units in structures of specified type and size, not for the number of residential buildings.

The units in structure provides information on the housing inventory by subdividing the inventory into one-family homes, apartments, and mobile homes. When the data is used in conjunction with tenure, year structure built, and income, units in structure serves as the basic identifier of housing used in many federal programs. The data also serve to aid in the planning of roads, hospitals, utility lines, schools, playgrounds, shopping centers, emergency preparedness plans, and energy consumption and supplies.

Mobile Home
Both occupied and vacant mobile homes to which no permanent rooms have been added are counted in this category. Mobile homes used only for business purposes or for extra sleeping space and mobile homes for sale on a dealer's lot, at the factory, or in storage are not counted in the housing inventory.

1-Unit, Detached
This is a 1-unit structure detached from any other house, that is, with open space on all four sides. Such structures are considered detached even if they have an adjoining shed or garage. A one-family house that contains a business is considered detached as long as the building has open space on all four sides. Mobile homes to which one or more permanent rooms have been added or built also are included.

1-Unit, Attached
This is a 1-unit structure that has one or more walls extending from ground to roof separating it from adjoining structures. In row houses (sometimes called townhouses), double houses, or houses attached to nonresidential structures, each house is a separate, attached structure if the dividing or common wall goes from ground to roof.

2 or More Apartments
These are units in structures containing 2 or more housing units, further categorized as units in structures with 2, 3 or 4, 5 to 9, 10 to 19, 20 to 49, and 50 or more apartments.

Boat, RV, Van, Etc.
This category is for any living quarters occupied as a housing unit that does not fit the previous categories. Examples that fit this category are houseboats, railroad cars, campers, and vans. Recreational vehicles, boats, vans, tents, railroad cars, and the like are included only if they are occupied as someone's current place of residence.

Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question provided the response category, "a mobile home or trailer." Starting in 1999, the ACS response category dropped "or trailer" to read as "a mobile home."

Comparability
Data on units in structure in the American Community Survey can be compared to previous ACS and Census 2000 units in structure data.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Grandparents as Caregivers
Data on grandparents as caregivers were derived from Questions 25a through 25c. Data were collected on whether a grandchild lives with a grandparent in the household, whether the grandparent has responsibility for the basic needs of the grandchild, and the duration of that responsibility.

Existence of a Grandparent Living with a Grandchild in the Household
This was determined by a "Yes" answer to the question, "Does this person have any of his/her own grandchildren under the age of 18 living in this house or apartment?" This question was asked of people 15 years of age and over. Because of the low numbers of persons under 30 years old living with their grandchildren, data were only tabulated for people 30 and over.

Responsibility for Basic Needs
This question determines if the grandparent is financially responsible for food, shelter, clothing, day care, etc., for any or all grandchildren living in the household. In selected tabulations, grandparent responsibility is further classified by presence of parent (of the grandchild).

Duration of Responsibility
The answer refers to the grandchild for whom the grandparent has been responsible for the longest period of time. Duration categories ranged from less than 6 months to 5 or more years.

Question/Concept History
This set of questions was added to the American Community Survey in 1999 to comply with legislation passed in the 104th Congress requiring that the decennial census program obtain information about grandparents who have primary responsibility for the care of their grandchildren. The response categories for length of time caring for grandchildren were modified slightly between the 1999 and 2000 American Community Survey questionnaires to match the 2000 decennial census questionnaire. The question has remained unchanged since then.

Limitation of the Data
Before 2006, ACS grandparents data had a universe of people in households (which was the same as that in Census 2000 and the CPS). Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have grandparents as caregivers distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the grandparents as caregivers distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

Comparability
The data on grandparents as caregivers can be compared to previous ACS years, Census 2000, and to similar data collected in the CPS (with the potential limitation noted above about areas with a substantial GQ population).