Data Dictionary: ACS 2010 -- 2012 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau
Table: T121. Average Gross Rent [1]
Universe: Renter-occupied housing units
Table Details
T121. Average Gross Rent
Universe: Renter-occupied housing units
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Mean
This measure represents an arithmetic average of a set of values. It is derived by dividing the sum (or aggregate) of a group of numerical questions by the total number of questions in that group. For example, mean household earnings is obtained by dividing the aggregate of all earnings reported by individuals with earnings living in households by the total number of households with earnings. (Additional information on means and aggregates is included in the separate explanations of many population and housing variables.)

Aggregate
An aggregate is the sum of the values for each of the elements in the universe. For example, aggregate household income is the sum of the incomes of all households in a given geographic area. Means are derived by dividing the aggregate by the appropriate universe. When an aggregate used as a numerator is rounded in the detailed (base) tables, the rounded value is used for the calculation of the mean.

Rounding for selected aggregates
To protect the confidentiality of responses, the aggregates shown in matrices for the list of subjects below are rounded. This means that the aggregates for these subjects, except for travel time to work, are rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. Unless special rounding rules apply (see below); $150 rounds up to $200; $149 rounds down to $100; $100 stays $100 unless otherwise noted. Note that each cell in a matrix is rounded individually. This means that an aggregate value shown for the United States may not necessarily be the sum total of the aggregate values in the matrices for the states. This also means that the cells in the aggregate matrices may not add to the total and/or subtotal lines.

Special rounding rules for aggregates.

-If the dollar value is -$99 through +$99, then the dollar value is rounded to $0.

-If the dollar value is less than -$100, then the dollar value is rounded to the nearest -$100.

-If the dollar value is $100 or -$100, do not change the value.

Aggregates Subject to Rounding:

Contract Rent, Rent Asked

Earnings in the Past 12 Months (Households)

Earnings in the Past 12 Months (Individuals)

Gross Rent*

Income Deficit in the Past 12 Months (Families)

Income Deficit in the Past 12 Months Per Family Member

Income Deficit in the Past 12 Months Per Unrelated Individual

Income in the Past 12 Months (Household/Family/Nonfamily Household)

Income in the Past 12 Months (Individuals)

Mobile Home Costs

Real Estate Taxes (Per $1,000 Value)

Rent Asked

Selected Monthly Owner Costs* by Mortgage Status Total Mortgage Payment Travel Time to Work**

Type of Income in the Past 12 Months (Households) Value, Price Asked

[*Note: Gross Rent and Selected Monthly Owner Costs include other aggregates that also are subject to rounding. For example, Gross Rent includes aggregates of payments for "contract rent" and the "costs of utilities and fuels." Selected Monthly Owner Costs includes aggregates of payments for "mortgages, deeds of trust, contracts to purchase, or similar debts on the property (including payments for the first mortgage, second mortgage, home equity loans, and other junior mortgages); real estate taxes; fire, hazard, and flood insurance on the property, and the costs of utilities and fuels."]

[**Note: Aggregate Travel Time to Work is zero if the aggregate is zero, is rounded to 4 minutes if the aggregate is 1 to 7 minutes, and is rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 minutes for all other values (if the aggregate is not already evenly divisible by 5).]

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Gross Rent
The data on gross rent were obtained from answers to Housing Questions 11a-d and 15a in the 2012 American Community Survey. Gross rent is the contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, and water and sewer) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid by the renter (or paid for the renter by someone else). Gross rent is intended to eliminate differentials that result from varying practices with respect to the inclusion of utilities and fuels as part of the rental payment. The estimated costs of water and sewer, and fuels are reported on a 12-month basis but are converted to monthly figures for the tabulations. Renter units occupied without payment of rent are shown separately as "No rent paid" in the tabulations.

Gross rent provides information on the monthly housing cost expenses for renters. When the data is used in conjunction with income data, the information offers an excellent measure of housing affordability and excessive shelter costs. The data also serve to aid in the development of housing programs to meet the needs of people at different economic levels, and to provide assistance to agencies in determining policies on fair rent.

Adjusting Gross Rent for Inflation
To inflate gross rent amounts from previous years, the dollar values are inflated to the latest year's dollar values by multiplying by a factor equal to the average annual Consumer Price Index (CPI-U-RS) factor for the current year, divided by the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the earlier/earliest year.

Median Gross Rent
Median gross rent divides the gross rent distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median gross rent and one-half above the median. Median gross rent is computed on the basis of a standard distribution. (See the "Standard Distributions" section in Appendix A.) Median gross rent is rounded to the nearest whole dollar. (For more information on medians, see "Derived Measures.")

Aggregate Gross Rent
Aggregate gross rent is calculated by adding together all the gross rents for all specified housing units in an area. Aggregate gross rent is rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. (For more information, see "Aggregate" under "Derived Measures.")

Question/Concept History

Since 1996, the American Community Survey questions have remained the same.

Comparability

Data on gross rent in the 2012 American Community Survey should not be compared to Census 2000 gross rent data. For Census 2000, tables were not released for total renter-occupied units. The universe in Census 2000 was "specified renter-occupied housing units" whereas the universe in the ACS is "renter occupied housing units," thus comparisons cannot be made between these two data sets.