Data Dictionary: ACS 2009 -- 2011 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B25048. Plumbing Facilities For Occupied Housing Units [3]
Universe: Universe: Occupied housing units
Table Details
B25048. Plumbing Facilities For Occupied Housing Units
Universe: Universe: Occupied housing units
Variable Label
B25048001
B25048002
B25048003
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2009-2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Plumbing Facilities
The data on plumbing facilities were obtained from Housing Question 8 a, b, and c in the 2011 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 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 housing units "lacking complete plumbing facilities."

Data tables for Puerto Rico were not shown. Research indicated that the questions on plumbing facilities that were introduced in 2008 in the stateside American Community Survey and the Puerto Rico Community Survey may not have been appropriate for Puerto Rico.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2009-2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Occupied Housing Unit
A housing unit is classified as occupied if it is the current place of residence of the person or group of people living in it at the time of interview, or if the occupants are only temporarily absent from the residence for two months or less, that is, away on vacation or a business trip. If all the people staying in the unit at the time of the interview are staying there for two months or less, the unit is considered to be temporarily occupied and classified as "vacant." The occupants may be a single family, one person living alone, two or more families living together, or any other group of related or unrelated people who share living quarters. The living quarters occupied by staff personnel within any group quarters are separate housing units if they satisfy the housing unit criteria of separateness and direct access; otherwise, they are considered group quarters.

Occupied rooms or suites of rooms in hotels, motels, and similar places are classified as housing units only when occupied by permanent residents, that is, people who consider the hotel as their current place of residence or have no current place of residence elsewhere. If any of the occupants in rooming or boarding houses, congregate housing, or continuing care facilities live separately from others in the building and have direct access, their quarters are classified as separate housing units.