Data Dictionary: ACS 2005 -- 2009 (5-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B25020. Tenure By Rooms [21]
Universe: Occupied housing units
Table Details
B25020. Tenure By Rooms
Universe: Occupied housing units
Variable Label
B25020001
B25020002
B25020003
B25020004
B25020005
B25020006
B25020007
B25020008
B25020009
B25020010
B25020011
B25020012
B25020013
B25020014
B25020015
B25020016
B25020017
B25020018
B25020019
B25020020
B25020021
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Tenure
The data for tenure were obtained from Housing Question 14 in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at occupied housing units. Occupied housing units are classified as either owner occupied or renter occupied.

Tenure provides a measurement of home ownership, which has served as an indicator of the nations economy for decades. These data are used to aid in the distribution of funds for programs such as those involving mortgage insurance, rental housing, and national defense housing. Data on tenure allows planners to evaluate the overall viability of housing markets and to assess the stability of neighborhoods. The data also serve in understanding the characteristics of owner occupied and renter occupied units to aid builders, mortgage lenders, planning officials, government agencies, etc., in the planning of housing programs and services.

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?"

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

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Rooms
The data on rooms were obtained from Housing Question 7a in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at both occupied and vacant housing units. The statistics on rooms are in terms of the number of housing units with a specified number of rooms. The intent of this question is to count the number of whole rooms used for living purposes.

For each unit, rooms include living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, finished recreation rooms, enclosed porches suitable for year-round use, and lodger's rooms. Excluded are strip or pullman kitchens, bathrooms, open porches, balconies, halls or foyers, half-rooms, utility rooms, unfinished attics or basements, or other unfinished space used for storage. A partially divided room is a separate room only if there is a partition from floor to ceiling, but not if the partition consists solely of shelves or cabinets.

Rooms provide the basis for estimating the amount of living and sleeping spaces within a housing unit. These data allow officials to plan and allocate funding for additional housing to relieve crowded housing conditions. The data also serve to aid in planning for future services and infrastructure, such as home energy assistance programs and the development of waste treatment facilities.

Median Rooms
This measure divides the room distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median number of rooms and one-half above the median. In computing median rooms, the whole number is used as the midpoint of the interval; thus, the category "3 rooms" is treated as an interval ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 rooms. Median rooms is rounded to the nearest tenth. (For more information on medians, see the discussion under "Derived Measures".)

Aggregate Rooms
Aggregate rooms is calculated by adding all of the rooms for housing units in an area. (For more information on aggregates, see "Derived Measures".)

Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question provided a space for a write-in entry on the number of rooms. From 1999-2007 the question provided response categories from "1 room" to "9 or more rooms." Starting in 2008, the response categories were removed and a write-in box was added for the respondent to enter the number of rooms. Additional changes introduced in 2008 included adding the word separate to the question stem, adding an instruction that defines a room, adding an inclusion instruction to include bedrooms and kitchens in the count of rooms, and changing the current exclusion instruction by removing the word half-room and adding the phrase "unfinished basements."

Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the rooms 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 (www.census.gov/acs).

Comparability
Caution should be used when comparing American Community Survey data on rooms from the years 2008 and after with both pre-2008 ACS and Census 2000 data. Changes made to the rooms 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 "1 room" response and as a decrease in "2 rooms" to "6 rooms" responses.