Data Dictionary: ACS 2005 -- 2009 (5-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B25050. Plumbing Facilities By Occupants Per Room By Year Structure Built [19]
Universe: Occupied housing units
Table Details
B25050. Plumbing Facilities By Occupants Per Room By Year Structure Built
Universe: Occupied housing units
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Plumbing Facilities
The data on plumbing facilities were obtained from Housing Question 8 a, b, and c in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at both occupied and vacant housing units. Complete plumbing facilities include: (a) hot and cold running water, (b) a flush toilet, and (c) a bathtub or shower. All three facilities must be located inside the house, apartment, or mobile home, but not necessarily in the same room. Housing units are classified as lacking complete plumbing facilities when any of the three facilities is not present.

Plumbing facilities provide an indication of living standards and assess the quality of household facilities within the housing inventory. These data provide assistance in the assessment of water resources and to serve as an aid to identify possible areas of ground water contamination. The data also are used to forecast the need for additional water and sewage facilities, aid in the development of policies based on fair market rent, and to identify areas in need of rehabilitation loans or grants.

Question/Concept History
The 1996-2007 American Community Survey questions were stand-alone questions that asked the respondent to answer either "Yes, has all three facilities" or "No" to the question of whether the housing unit had complete plumbing facilities, requiring that the facilities all be in the same unit. Starting in 2008, the structure of the question changed and combined plumbing facilities with kitchen facilities and telephone service availability into one question to ask, "Does this house, apartment, or mobile home have -" and provided the respondent with a "Yes" or "No" checkbox for each component needed for complete facilities. An additional change introduced in 2008 included changing the description of the component "hot and cold piped water to hot and cold running water."

Comparability
Caution should be used when comparing American Community Survey data on plumbing facilities from the years 2008 and after with both pre-2008 ACS and Census 2000 data. Changes made to the plumbing facilities question between the 2007 and 2008 ACS involving the wording, the response option, and translation to the Spanish questionnaire resulted in an inconsistency in the ACS data. This inconsistency in the data was most noticeable as an increase in housing units "lacking complete plumbing facilities."

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Occupants Per Room
Occupants per room is obtained by dividing the number of people in each occupied housing unit by the number of rooms in the unit. The figures show the number of occupied housing units having the specified ratio of people per room. Although the Census Bureau has no official definition of crowded units, many users consider units with more than one occupant per room to be crowded. Occupants per room is rounded to the nearest hundredth.

This data is 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.

Comparability
Caution should be used when comparing American Community Survey data on occupants per room 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" responses and as a decrease in "2 rooms" to "6 rooms" responses.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Year Structure Built
The data on year structure built were obtained from Housing Question 2 in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at both occupied and vacant housing units. Year structure built refers to when the building was first constructed, not when it was remodeled, added to, or converted. Housing units under construction are included as vacant housing if they meet the housing unit definition, that is, all exterior windows, doors, and final usable floors are in place. For mobile homes, houseboats, RVs, etc., the manufacturer's model year was assumed to be the year built. The data relate to the number of units built during the specified periods that were still in existence at the time of interview.

The year the structure was built provides information on the age of housing units. These data help identify new housing construction and measures the disappearance of old housing from the inventory, when used in combination with data from previous years. The data also serve to aid in the development of formulas to determine substandard housing and provide assistance in forecasting future services, such as energy consumption and fire protection.

Median Year Structure Built
Median year structure built divides the distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median year structure built and one-half above the median. Median year structure built is computed on the basis of a standard distribution (See the "Standard Distributions" section under "Appendix A".) The median is rounded to the nearest calendar year. Median age of housing can be obtained by subtracting median year structure built from survey year. For example, if the median year structure built is 1969, the median age of housing in that area is 40 years (2009 minus 1969). (For more information on medians, see "Derived Measures".)

Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question provided a write-in space for the respondent to enter a year the structure was built. From 1999-2007 the question provided 9 pre-coded response categories, which showed ranges of years, and from 2003-2007 the response categories were updated to provide detail for recently built structures. Starting in 2008, the response category 2000 or later and the instruction Specify year with a write-in box replaced the two categories 2000 to 2004 and 2005 or later.

Limitation of the Data
Data on year structure built are more susceptible to errors of response and non-reporting than data for many other questions because respondents must rely on their memory or on estimates by people who have lived in the neighborhood a long time.

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