Energy Costs, Monthly Residential
The average monthly expense for fuels and utilities in occupied housing units. Fuels include oil, coal, wood, kerosene, and other fuels; utilities include electricity, gas, and water. Costs are recorded if paid by or billed to occupants, a welfare agency, relatives, or friends. Costs paid by landlords or included in condominium or cooperative fees are excluded. Also excluded are payments by occupants for fuel bills other than their own. Water and fuel costs are converted from a yearly basis as reported, to a monthly basis.
Utility and fuel costs are used primarily as components of "Gross Rent" and "Selected Monthly Owner Costs." since utilities included in rent payments are not recorded, residential energy cost data for renter-occupied units are of limited value for direct study. For that reason, separate fuel and utility cost figures are not issued in the more widely circulated census reports, but only on summary tapes. Basic record tapes and microdata show dollar amounts up to $999 for electricity, gas, and water, and to $9,999 for fuels. If the respondent used words or symbols such as more than" or some dollar amount with a "+", a dollar was added to the amount; if "less than" was used a dollar was subtracted. If the entry read "around," "approximately," or "about," the amount reported was used. These items were asked on a sample basis.
Monthly residential energy costs as percentage of income
Monthly residential energy costs divided by one-twelfth of the household income in 1979.
A sample taken before the census showed that respondent's estimates were overstated as compared with utility company records.
Similar data were collected for renters only in 1960 and 1970. Directions implied in the 1970 format were made explicit to respondents in 1980: "The amounts to be reported should be for the last 12 months, that is, for electricity and gas, the monthly average for the past 12 months; for water and other fuels, the total amount for the last 12 months." The expression "included in rent" was expanded to "included in rent or no charge."
See also: "Fuel;" "Owner Costs, Selected Monthly;" "Rent, Gross".