The data on mortgage payment were obtained from Housing Question 19b in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at owner-occupied units that have a mortgage, deed of trust, or similar debt; or contract to purchase. The question provides the regular monthly amount required to be paid to the lender for the first mortgage (deed of trust, contract to purchase, or similar debt) on the property. Amounts are included even if the payments are delinquent or paid by someone else. The amounts reported are included in the computation of "Selected Monthly Owner Costs" and "Selected Monthly Owner Costs as a Percentage of Household Income" for units with a mortgage.
The amounts reported include everything paid to the lender including principal and interest payments, real estate taxes, fire, hazard, and flood insurance payments, and mortgage insurance premiums. Separate questions determine whether real estate taxes and fire, hazard, and flood insurance payments are included in the mortgage payment to the lender. This makes it possible to avoid counting these components twice in the computation of Selected Monthly Owner Costs.
Mortgage payment provides information on the monthly housing cost expenses for owners with a mortgage. 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 aimed to meet the needs of people at different economic levels.
Since 1996, the American Community Survey questions have been the same.
Data on mortgage payment in the American Community Survey can be compared to previous ACS and Census 2000 mortgage payment 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.