Data Dictionary: ACS 2007 -- 2009 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Owner-occupied housing units
Variable Details
B25100. Mortgage Status By Ratio Of Value To Household Income In The Past 12 Months
Universe: Owner-occupied housing units
B25100002 With a mortgage
Aggregation method:
Addition
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Mortgage Status
The data on mortgage status were obtained from Housing Questions 19a and 20a in the 2009 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.
Mortgage status provides information on the cost of home ownership. When the data is used in conjunction with mortgage payment data, the information determines shelter costs for living quarters. These data can be use in the development of housing programs aimed to meet the needs of people at different economic levels. The data also serve to evaluate the magnitude of and to plan facilities for condominiums, which are becoming an important source of supply of new housing in many areas.

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

Comparability
Data on mortgage status in the American Community Survey can be compared to previous ACS and Census 2000 mortgage status data. For Census 2000, tables for both total owner-occupied housing units and specified owner-occupied housing units were released, thus comparisons can be made only when comparing the same universes between the two data sets.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Ratio
This is a measure of the relative size of one number to a second number expressed as the quotient of the first number divided by the second. For example, the sex ratio is calculated by dividing the total number of males by the total number of females, and then multiplying by 100.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Value
The data on value (also referred to as "price asked" for vacant units) were obtained from Housing Question 16 in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at housing units that were owned, being bought, vacant for sale, or sold not occupied at the time of the survey. Value is the respondent's estimate of how much the property (house and lot, mobile home and lot, or condominium unit) would sell for if it were for sale. If the house or mobile home was owned or being bought, but the land on which it sits was not, the respondent was asked to estimate the combined value of the house or mobile home and the land. For vacant units, value was the price asked for the property. Value was tabulated separately for all owner-occupied and vacant-for-sale housing units, as well as owner-occupied and vacant-for-sale mobile homes. The value of a home provides information on neighborhood quality, housing affordability, and wealth. These data provide socioeconomic information not captured by household income and comparative information on the state of local housing markets. The data also serve to aid in the development of housing programs designed to meet the housing needs of persons at different economic levels.

Adjusting Value for Inflation
Since value collected before 2008 is the only dollar amount captured on the questionnaire in specified intervals, the category boundaries for previous years are not adjusted for inflation. In the comparison profiles, however, the median value is adjusted for inflation by multiplying 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.

Median and Quartile Value
The median divides the value distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median value of the property (house and lot, mobile home and lot, or condominium unit) and one-half above the median. Quartiles divide the value distribution into four equal parts. Median and quartile value are computed on the basis of a standard distribution. (See the "Standard Distributions" section under "Appendix A".) Median and quartile value calculations are rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. Upper and lower quartiles can be used to note large value differences among various geographic areas. (For more information on medians and quartiles, see "Derived Measures".)

Aggregate Value
Aggregate value is calculated by adding all of the value estimates for owner occupied housing units in an area. Aggregate value is rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. (For more information on aggregates, see "Derived Measures".)

Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question provided a space for the respondent to enter a dollar amount. From 1999-2007 the question provided 19 pre-coded response categories from "Less than $10,000 to $250,000 or more - Specify." Starting in 2004, value was shown for all owner-occupied housing units, unlike from 1996-2003 in which value was shown only for specified owner-occupied housing units. Changes introduced in 2008 were removing the pre-coded response categories and adding a write-in box for the respondent to enter the property value amount in dollars, and revising the wording of the question to ask, "About how much do you think this house and lot, apartment, or mobile home (and lot, if owned) would sell for if it were for sale?"

Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the value 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 Property Value" on the ACS website (www.census.gov/acs).

Comparability
Caution should be used when comparing American Community Survey data on value from the years 2008 and after with pre-2008 ACS data. Changes made to the value question between the 2007 and 2008 ACS involving the response option may have resulted in an inconsistency in the value distribution for some areas. In 2007 and previous years, the ACS value question included categorical response options with a write-in for values over $250,000. Beginning in 2008, the response option became solely a write-in. Caution should also be used when comparing value data from the ACS produced in 2008 or later with Census 2000 value data. The 2008 or later ACS provides solely a write-in response option while Census 2000 collected data in categories. Additionally, Census 2000 tables on value were released for both total owner-occupied housing units and specified owner-occupied housing units, thus comparisons can be made only when comparing the same universes between the two data sets.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 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.