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Census Bureau to Update Information on Nation’s Housing

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RISMEDIA, April 13, 2007-Beginning April 23, Census Bureau field representatives will interview 76,000 housing units to conduct the American Housing Survey (AHS), the most comprehensive survey of U.S. housing between decennial censuses.

Before the survey, local households in the nationwide sample will receive an informational letter from Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon explaining that they will be interviewed by field representatives who carry official identification. Besides visiting occupied housing units, the field representatives obtain data on unoccupied units from landlords, rental agents or neighbors. By law, the Census Bureau protects the confidentiality of all identifying information about survey respondents and their housing

Field representatives will ask residents questions about the size, composition and condition of the house, and the financial and demographic characteristics of the people who live there. Other questions ask about the lot size, the year the structure was built, plumbing facilities, type of mortgage, source of water, frequency of equipment failures, condition of the neighborhood, and the residents' opinions of their neighborhoods. Most residents in the AHS survey are visited once every two years. A small group in some large metropolitan areas are interviewed every six to eight years.

The Census Bureau has been conducting the AHS since 1973 for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Joint HUD-Census Bureau reports on the survey's findings are issued about 12 months after the interviews are completed.

Data in the reports answer such questions as:

- What are the household characteristics of senior citizen communities?
- What kinds of problems and situations do people have in their homes and neighborhoods that affect their living environment?
- How many rent controlled units are in the United States?
- What type of fuel do people use to heat their homes?
- Why do people move?
- How much time does it take people to travel to work and what means of transportation do they use?

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