Data Dictionary: ACS 2009 -- 2011 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B25103. Mortgage Status By Median Real Estate Taxes Paid (Dollars) [3]
Universe: Universe: Owner-occupied housing units
Table Details
B25103. Mortgage Status By Median Real Estate Taxes Paid (Dollars)
Universe: Universe: Owner-occupied housing units
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2009-2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Mortgage Status
The data on mortgage status were obtained from Housing Questions 19a and 20a in the 2011 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 2009-2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Median
This measure represents the middle value (if n is odd) or the average of the two middle values (if n is even) in an ordered list of n data values. The median divides the total frequency distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median and one-half above the median. Each median is calculated using a standard distribution (see below). (For more information, see "Interpolation.")

For data products displayed in American FactFinder, medians that fall in the upper-most category of an open-ended distribution will be shown with a plus symbol (+) appended (e.g., "$2,000+" for contract rent), and medians that fall in the lowest category of an open-ended distribution will be shown with a minus symbol (-) appended (e.g., "$100- for contract rent"). For other data products and data files that are downloaded by users (i.e., FTP files), plus and minus signs will not be appended. Contract Rent, for example will be shown as $2001 if the median falls in the upper-most category ($2,000 or more) and $99 if the median falls in the lowest category (Less than $100). (The "Standard Distributions" section in Appendix A shows the open-ended intervals for medians.)

Standard Distributions
In order to provide consistency in the values within and among data products, standard distributions from which medians and quartiles are calculated are used for the American Community Survey. The American Community Survey standard distributions are listed in Appendix A.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2009-2011 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Real Estate Taxes
The data on real estate taxes were obtained from Housing Question 17 in the 2011 American Community Survey. The question was asked at owner-occupied units. The statistics from this question refer to the total amount of all real estate taxes on the entire property (land and buildings) payable to all taxing jurisdictions, including special assessments, school taxes, county taxes, and so forth.

Real estate taxes include state, local, and all other real estate taxes even if delinquent, unpaid, or paid by someone who is not a member of the household. However, taxes due from prior years are not included. If taxes are paid on other than a yearly basis, the payments are converted to a yearly basis.

The payment for real estate taxes is added to payments for fire, hazard, and flood insurance; utilities and fuels; and mortgages (both first and second mortgages, home equity loans, and other junior mortgages) to derive "Selected Monthly Owner Costs" and "Selected Monthly Owner Costs as a Percentage of Household Income." These data provide information on the cost of home ownership and offer an excellent measure of housing affordability and excessive shelter costs.

A separate question (Question 19c in the 2008 American Community Survey) determines whether real estate taxes are included in the mortgage payment to the lender(s). This makes it possible to avoid counting taxes twice in the computations.

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

Comparability
Data on real estate taxes in the American Community Survey should not be compared to Census 2000 real estate taxes data. The universe in Census 2000 was "specified owner-occupied housing units" whereas the universe in the ACS is "owner occupied housing units," thus comparisons cannot be made between these two data sets.