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Data Dictionary: ACS 2009 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Owner-occupied housing units
Variable Details
T97. House Value for All Owner-Occupied Housing Units
Universe: Owner-occupied housing units
T097_002 Less than $20,000
Aggregation method:
Formula used to compute this variable:
Return_Value = ACS09_3yr:B25075002 + ACS09_3yr:B25075003 + ACS09_3yr:B25075004; if (ACS09_3yr:B25075002.IsNull || ACS09_3yr:B25075003.IsNull || ACS09_3yr:B25075004.IsNull) Return_Value.IsNull = true
Variables used in the formula:
Owner-Occupied Housing Units: Less than $10,000
Owner-Occupied Housing Units: $10,000 to $14,999
Owner-Occupied Housing Units: $15,000 to $19,999
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
The data on value (also referred to as "price asked" for vacant units) were obtained from Housing Question 16 in the 2009 American Community Survey. The question was asked at housing units that were owned, being bought, vacant for sale, or sold not occupied at the time of the survey. Value is the respondent's estimate of how much the property (house and lot, mobile home and lot, or condominium unit) would sell for if it were for sale. If the house or mobile home was owned or being bought, but the land on which it sits was not, the respondent was asked to estimate the combined value of the house or mobile home and the land. For vacant units, value was the price asked for the property. Value was tabulated separately for all owner-occupied and vacant-for-sale housing units, as well as owner-occupied and vacant-for-sale mobile homes. The value of a home provides information on neighborhood quality, housing affordability, and wealth. These data provide socioeconomic information not captured by household income and comparative information on the state of local housing markets. The data also serve to aid in the development of housing programs designed to meet the housing needs of persons at different economic levels.

Adjusting Value for Inflation
Since value collected before 2008 is the only dollar amount captured on the questionnaire in specified intervals, the category boundaries for previous years are not adjusted for inflation. In the comparison profiles, however, the median value is adjusted for inflation by multiplying a factor equal to the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the current year, divided by the average annual CPI-U-RS factor for the earlier/earliest year.

Median and Quartile Value
The median divides the value distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median value of the property (house and lot, mobile home and lot, or condominium unit) and one-half above the median. Quartiles divide the value distribution into four equal parts. Median and quartile value are computed on the basis of a standard distribution. (See the "Standard Distributions" section under "Appendix A".) Median and quartile value calculations are rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. Upper and lower quartiles can be used to note large value differences among various geographic areas. (For more information on medians and quartiles, see "Derived Measures".)

Aggregate Value
Aggregate value is calculated by adding all of the value estimates for owner occupied housing units in an area. Aggregate value is rounded to the nearest hundred dollars. (For more information on aggregates, see "Derived Measures".)

Question/Concept History
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question provided a space for the respondent to enter a dollar amount. From 1999-2007 the question provided 19 pre-coded response categories from "Less than $10,000 to $250,000 or more - Specify." Starting in 2004, value was shown for all owner-occupied housing units, unlike from 1996-2003 in which value was shown only for specified owner-occupied housing units. Changes introduced in 2008 were removing the pre-coded response categories and adding a write-in box for the respondent to enter the property value amount in dollars, and revising the wording of the question to ask, "About how much do you think this house and lot, apartment, or mobile home (and lot, if owned) would sell for if it were for sale?"

Limitation of the Data
The Census Bureau tested the changes introduced to the 2008 version of the value question in the 2006 ACS Content Test. The results of this testing show that the changes may introduce an inconsistency in the data produced for this question as observed from the years 2007 to 2008, see "2006 ACS Content Test Evaluation Report Covering Property Value" on the ACS website (

Caution should be used when comparing American Community Survey data on value from the years 2008 and after with pre-2008 ACS data. Changes made to the value question between the 2007 and 2008 ACS involving the response option may have resulted in an inconsistency in the value distribution for some areas. In 2007 and previous years, the ACS value question included categorical response options with a write-in for values over $250,000. Beginning in 2008, the response option became solely a write-in. Caution should also be used when comparing value data from the ACS produced in 2008 or later with Census 2000 value data. The 2008 or later ACS provides solely a write-in response option while Census 2000 collected data in categories. Additionally, Census 2000 tables on value were released for both total owner-occupied housing units and specified owner-occupied housing units, 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 2007-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
Owner Occupied
A housing unit is owner occupied if the owner or co-owner lives in the unit even if it is mortgaged or not fully paid for. The owner or co-owner must live in the unit and usually is Person 1 on the questionnaire. The unit is "Owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan" if it is being purchased with a mortgage or some other debt arrangement such as a deed of trust, trust deed, contract to purchase, land contract, or purchase agreement. The unit also is considered owned with a mortgage if it is built on leased land and there is a mortgage on the unit. Mobile homes occupied by owners with installment loan balances also are included in this category.

A housing unit is "Owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan)" if there is no mortgage or other similar debt on the house, apartment, or mobile home including units built on leased land if the unit is owned outright without a mortgage.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2007-2009 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.