The data on units in structure (also referred to as "type of structure") were obtained from Housing Question 1 in the 2012 American Community Survey. The question was asked at occupied and vacant housing units. A structure is a separate building that either has open spaces on all sides or is separated from other structures by dividing walls that extend from ground to roof. In determining the number of units in a structure, all housing units, both occupied and vacant, are counted. Stores and office space are excluded. The data are presented for the number of housing units in structures of specified type and size, not for the number of residential buildings.
The units in structure provides information on the housing inventory by subdividing the inventory into one-family homes, apartments, and mobile homes. When the data is used in conjunction with tenure, year structure built, and income, units in structure serves as the basic identifier of housing used in many federal programs. The data also serve to aid in the planning of roads, hospitals, utility lines, schools, playgrounds, shopping centers, emergency preparedness plans, and energy consumption and supplies.
Both occupied and vacant mobile homes to which no permanent rooms have been added are counted in this category. Mobile homes used only for business purposes or for extra sleeping space and mobile homes for sale on a dealer's lot, at the factory, or in storage are not counted in the housing inventory.
This is a 1-unit structure detached from any other house, that is, with open space on all four sides. Such structures are considered detached even if they have an adjoining shed or garage. A one-family house that contains a business is considered detached as long as the building has open space on all four sides. Mobile homes to which one or more permanent rooms have been added or built also are included.
This is a 1-unit structure that has one or more walls extending from ground to roof separating it from adjoining structures. In row houses (sometimes called townhouses), double houses, or houses attached to nonresidential structures, each house is a separate, attached structure if the dividing or common wall goes from ground to roof.
These are units in structures containing 2 or more housing units, further categorized as units in structures with "2, 3 or 4," "5 to 9, 10 to 19," "20 to 49, and 50 or more apartments."
This category is for any living quarters occupied as a housing unit that does not fit the previous categories. Examples that fit this category are houseboats, railroad cars, campers, and vans. Recreational vehicles, boats, vans, tents, railroad cars, and the like are included only if they are occupied as someone's current place of residence.
The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question provided the response category, "a mobile home or trailer." Starting in 1999, the ACS response category dropped "or trailer" to read as "a mobile home."
Data on units in structure in the 2012 American Community Survey can be compared to previous ACS and Census 2000 units in structure data.