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Data Dictionary: ACS 2010 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B98021. Housing Unit Response and Nonresponse Rates with Reasons For Noninterviews [9]
Universe: Housing Units
Table Details
B98021. Housing Unit Response and Nonresponse Rates with Reasons For Noninterviews
Universe: Housing Units
Variable Label
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008-2010 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
Housing Unit
A housing unit may be a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms or a single room that is occupied (or, if vacant, intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other individuals in the building and which have direct access from outside the building or through a common hall. For vacant units, the criteria of separateness and direct access are applied to the intended occupants whenever possible. If that information cannot be obtained, the criteria are applied to the previous occupants.

Both occupied and vacant housing units are included in the housing unit inventory. Boats, recreational vehicles (RVs), vans, tents, railroad cars, and the like are included only if they are occupied as someone's current place of residence. Vacant mobile homes are included provided they are intended for occupancy on the site where they stand. Vacant mobile homes on dealers' sales lots, at the factory, or in storage yards are excluded from the housing inventory. Also excluded from the housing inventory are quarters being used entirely for nonresidential purposes, such as a store or an office, or quarters used for the storage of business supplies or inventory, machinery, or agricultural products.

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.

Vacant Housing Unit
A housing unit is vacant if no one is living in it at the time of interview. Units occupied at the time of interview entirely by persons who are staying two months or less and who have a more permanent residence elsewhere are considered to be temporarily occupied, and are classified as "vacant."

New units not yet occupied are classified as vacant housing units if construction has reached a point where all exterior windows and doors are installed and final usable floors are in place. Vacant units are excluded from the housing inventory if they are open to the elements, that is, the roof, walls, windows, and/or doors no longer protect the interior from the elements. Also, excluded are vacant units with a sign that they are condemned or they are to be demolished.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2008-2010 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
Response Rates
The survey response rate is the ratio of the estimate of units interviewed after data collection is complete to the estimate of all units that should have been interviewed. Separate rates are calculated for housing unit response and GQ person response. For housing units, this means all interviews after mail, telephone and personal visit follow-up. For GQ persons, this means all interviews after the personal visit. Interviews include complete and partial interviews with enough information to be processed.
All final noninterviews have been grouped into one of the following Reasons for Noninterviews:

Refusal: Even though the ACS is a mandatory survey and households whose addresses are selected and GQ persons who are selected for the survey are required to answer the survey questions, a few are reluctant to cooperate and refuse to participate.

Unable to Locate: If the interviewer cannot find the sample address after using all possible sources, they consider it "unable to locate". For GQ persons, the individual could not be located.

No One Home: Interviewers assign this code if they could not find anyone at the housing unit during the entire month's interview period. There is no equivalent rate for GQ persons.

Temporarily Absent: The interviewers confirm that all household members or the GQ person are away during the entire month's interview period on vacation, a business trip, or caring for sick relatives.

Language Problem: The interviewer could not conduct an interview because of language barriers, was not able to get an interpreter who could translate, and the supervisor or regional office could not help complete this case.

Insufficient Data: To be considered an interviewed unit in ACS, a household or GQ person's response needs to have a minimum amount of data. Occupied housing units and GQ persons not meeting this minimum are treated as noninterviews in the estimation process. Responses for vacant housing units are not subject to a minimum data requirement

Other: Unique situations when the reason for noninterview does not fit into one of the classifications described above. Possible reasons include "death in the family", "household quarantined", or "roads impassable".

Whole GQ Refusal: Some group quarters refuse to allow the ACS to interview any of their residents, citing legal or other reasons.

Whole GQ Other: These account for other situations where no one in the GQ was interviewed due to reasons other than refusals.