Data on kitchen facilities were obtained from Housing Question 8d-f in the 2012 American Community Survey. The question was asked at both occupied and vacant housing units. A unit has complete kitchen facilities when it has all three of the following facilities: (d) a sink with a faucet, (e) a stove or range, and (f) a refrigerator. All kitchen facilities must be located in the house, apartment, or mobile home, but they need not be in the same room. A housing unit having only a microwave or portable heating equipment such as a hot plate or camping stove should not be considered as having complete kitchen facilities. An icebox is not considered to be a refrigerator.
Kitchen facilities provide an indication of living standards and assess the quality of household facilities within the housing inventory. These data provide assistance in determining areas that are eligible for programs and funding, such as Meals on Wheels. The data also serve to aid in the development of policies based on fair market rent, and to identify areas in need of rehabilitation loans or grants.
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey questions asked whether the house or apartment had complete kitchen facilities, requiring that the three facilities all be in the same unit. In 1999, "mobile home" was added to the question, along with the capitalization of the word "COMPLETE" for emphasis. Starting in 2008, the structure of the question changed and combined kitchen facilities with plumbing facilities and telephone service availability into one question to ask, "Does this house, apartment, or mobile home have-" and provided the respondent with a "Yes" or "No" checkbox for each component needed for complete facilities. Also in 2008, the component "sink with piped water" was changed to "sink with a faucet."
Caution should be used when comparing American Community Survey data on kitchen facilities from the years 2008 and after with both pre-2008 ACS and Census 2000 data. Changes made to the kitchen facilities question between the 2007 and 2008 ACS involving the wording as well as the response option resulted in an inconsistency in the ACS data. This inconsistency in the data was most noticeable as an increase in housing units "lacking complete kitchen facilities."