The data on contract rent (also referred to as "rent asked" for vacant units) were obtained from questionnaire item H7a, which was asked at all occupied housing units that were rented for cash rent and all vacant housing units that were for rent at the time of enumeration. Housing units that are renter occupied without payment of cash rent are shown separately as "No cash rent" in census data products. The unit may be owned by friends or relatives who live elsewhere and who allow occupancy without charge. Rent-free houses or apartments may be provided to compensate caretakers, ministers, tenant farmers, sharecroppers, or others.
Contract rent is the monthly rent agreed to or contracted for, regardless of any furnishings, utilities, fees, meals, or services that may be included. For vacant units, it is the monthly rent asked for the rental unit at the time of enumeration.
If the contract rent includes rent for a business unit or for living quarters occupied by another household, the respondent was instructed to report that part of the rent estimated to be for his or her unit only. Respondents were asked to report rent only for the housing unit enumerated and to exclude any rent paid for additional units or for business premises.
If a renter pays rent to the owner of a condominium or cooperative, and the condominium fee or cooperative carrying charge is also paid by the renter to the owner, the respondent was instructed to include the fee or carrying charge.
If a renter receives payments from lodgers or roomers who are listed as members of the household, the respondent was instructed to report the rent without deduction for any payments received from the lodgers or roomers. The respondent was instructed to report the rent agreed to or contracted for even if paid by someone else such as friends or relatives living elsewhere, or a church or welfare agency.
In some tabulations, contract rent is presented for all renter-occupied housing units, as well as specified renter-occupied and specified vacant-for-rent units. Specified renter-occupied and specified vacant-for-rent units exclude one-family houses on 10 or more acres. (For more information on rent, see the discussion under "Gross Rent" in census products containing sample data.)
Median and Quartile Contract Rent
The median divides the rent distribution into two equal parts. Quartiles divide the rent distribution into four equal parts. In computing median and quartile contract rent, units reported as "No cash rent" are excluded. Median and quartile rent calculations are rounded to the nearest dollar. (For more information on medians and quartiles, see the discussion under "Derived Measures.")
To calculate aggregate contract rent, the amount assigned for the category "less than $80" is $50. The amount assigned to the category "$1,000 or more" is $1,250. (For more information on aggregates and means, see the discussion under "Derived Measures.")
Data on this item have been collected since 1940. For 1990, quartiles were added because the range of rents and values in the United States has increased in recent years. Upper and lower quartiles can be used to note large rent and value differences among various geographic areas.