Revised February 13, 2002

Sources of Data on State and Local Housing Needs

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The following is a listing of current available sources of state and local housing data. The data are predominantly obtained from the Census and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. We also note likely useful state and local data sources. Most of the items listed can be obtained via the Internet.

(1) Census Data

Decennial census — The decennial census provides the most comprehensive data available on housing cost burdens of different groups and some housing characteristics, but does not provide data on housing quality and supply problems. Census data for 2000 are available on CD-ROM for all states, counties, and jurisdictions with 25,000 or more residents. HUD has provided special tabulations of the 1990 and 2000 Census data for use in determining housing needs for certain income, racial, elderly/disabled and housing tenure categories. These data are available at

Census 2000 Supplementary Survey (C2SS) — Conducted in 2000 concurrently with the 2000 Decennial Census using the questionnaire and methodology from the American Community Survey (ACS) to collect demographic, social, economic, and housing data from a national sample of over 700,000 households. Provides estimates for states, counties and most metropolitan areas above 250,000 in population. C2SS collected detailed long form information comparable to the 1990 and 2000 decennial census and the yearly ACS survey though using a much smaller sample size. The C2SS covered 1,203 counties nationwide surveying 58,000 households monthly. Website is   Select link to American FactFinder for tables and maps of Census 2000 data for all geographies to the block level.

The Census Bureau also makes available annual data that may be helpful. Such data include housing vacancies, homeownership rates and market absorption of new units. Check their website at

American Community Survey (ACS) — When fully implemented in FY 2003, the ACS will collect the detailed demographic data traditionally collected on the decennial census long form. It will survey 3 million households a year, located in every county, American Indian and Native Alaskan area, and Hawaiian Homeland, as well as in Puerto Rico. These data will provide detailed characteristics about our nation updated every year, rather than only once every ten years. A major advantage is that it also will provide information that is reliable at the state and sub-state levels. It contains detailed data on housing costs and quality as well as household income and employment. State-level and some county 2000 data are now available, as well as 1999 data from selected counties in 31 states. Further data will be available in 2002. Website is

American Housing Survey (AHS) Metropolitan Samples — Every two years, the Census gathers national housing data through the AHS. The sample size is too small to yield valid data at the state level. Large metropolitan areas are sampled every 4 - 6 years. The AHS metro data (and other potentially useful housing data) are available at

(2) U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

A Picture of Subsidized Households: — From the link below, choose the most recent version of "A Picture of Subsidized Households." This HUD publication provides much more data on the characteristics of HUD-subsidized households than the public-access MTCS site (see below). However, the web version of A Picture of Subsidized Households is much harder to use. Printed versions also are available for purchase from HUDUSER. Among the additional data provided here are the length of time recent tenants waited for their subsidies. Available at

Fair Market Rents — Fair Market Rents (FMRs) represent HUD's estimates of the 40th and 50th percentile of recently rented non-luxury apartments in a particular metropolitan area or non-metro county. They are used to determine the amount of the federal subsidy for participants in the tenant-based Section 8 program. Out of Reach and other publications base their estimates of housing affordability on HUD's FMRs. FMRs are available at

HUD Income Limits — These are the income thresholds HUD sets for eligibility for its various programs. They are based on HUD estimates of area median income with certain adjustments. Like FMRs, income limits cover every metropolitan area or non-metro county. Information on HUD income limits may be found at

U.S. Housing Market Conditions — Quarterly regional economic and housing data, as well as trends. Each issue may focus on particular metropolitan areas. Available at

State of the Cities Database — For 114 cities and their suburbs, contains detailed economic and housing data, including wage rages (with some industry breakdown), overall inflation, and housing cost inflation. Includes Census data since 1970 as well as data for selected years in the 1990s. Available at

Enterprise Geographic Information System (EGIS) — A new desktop and Internet application that replaces the mapping portion of HUD Community 2020 and provides easy access to mapping tools and HUD data to support housing and community development programs at the state, county, city, and neighborhood levels. Among its many uses, the Enterprise GIS could be used to show the participation of households in HUD programs, the location of assisted tenants, and where PHAs may need to do more landlord outreach to increase owner participation in the voucher program. The Internet application is provided as a free service to federal, state, and local agencies, as well as the general public to view selected HUD housing and community development data and will be made available on HUD's web site in December 2001.

Multifamily Tenant Characteristics System (MTCS) — This is the public access site for the internal system HUD and public housing agencies use to keep track of data about public housing residents and participants in the Section 8 voucher program. Currently, only the Resident Characteristics Report is available for public viewing. That report provides information on resident incomes, sources of income, family types, etc. The Resident Characteristics Report is available at


(3) National Survey of America's Families

Provides a comprehensive examination of the well-being and quality of life of adults and children, with particular attention to low-income families. Findings include a section on housing affordability problems, and 13 states are examined in depth. The most recent survey results from 1999 are available on the Urban Institute's website at

(4) Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) Statistics

Federal regulations require lending institutions to report loan data. The data include loan approval and denial rates by race, gender, income, and geographic location. Available on the Internet at

(5) National Association of Home Builders Housing Facts and Figures

Recent national, state and local level data that includes housing starts, new home prices, homeownership rates, remodeling expenditures, and existing home prices. Available on the Internet at

(6) National Association of Realtors Economic Research

Monthly statistics on sales of existing family homes at the national and regional levels. Sales data on single-family, apartment and condo/co-op homes by state are released quarterly. The Housing Affordability Index is released monthly. Metropolitan Area Prices are released quarterly. Available on the Internet at

(7) The Consolidated Plan

Consolidated Plans are issued by states and large cities or metropolitan counties every five years with annual updates. Consolidated Plans must include data on housing needs by income and certain other characteristics, and may include locally-generated data as well as Census data. Executive Summaries of most Consolidated Plans are available on the Internet at

(8) Publications

"Out of Reach: The Growing Gap Between Housing Costs and Income of Poor People in the United States," by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.

This annual publication provides housing cost and income data for every metropolitan area and non-metropolitan county, and some additional county/town data. Contains the "housing wage" for each state. Available on the Internet at

"Priced Out in 2000: The Crisis Continues," by Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc. and Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force.

This publication examines the affordability of modest efficiency and one-bedroom housing units for people with disabilities in all 50 states and within each of the 2,703 distinct housing market areas of the country defined by the federal government. Available on the Internet at

"The State of the Nation's Housing, 2001," by Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

This publication provides a current snapshot of the state of the nation's housing, including housing markets, demographic characteristics, homeownership, rental housing, and housing needs. It contains regional but not state or local data. Available on the Internet at

(9) Homelessness Data

State and city Consolidated Plans should contain data on homelessness.

Census 2000 Special Reports: "Emergency and Transitional Shelter Population: 2000" - The report, issued in October 2001, provides demographic tabulations on the population in emergency and transitional shelters on March 27, 2000. Data are included from regional, state and metropolitan areas where 100 or more people are in emergency and transitional shelters. The report is available on the Internet at

An additional table provides population data in selected group quarters for the United States, states, and counties and census tracts with 100 or more people in emergency and transitional shelters. It is available on the Internet at

The US Conference of Mayors conducts an annual survey of hunger and homelessness which examines the causes of hunger and homelessness, the demographic groups that make up this population, and model programs that respond to these problems in 25 cities. Findings from the survey are available on their website under "USCM Reports," A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in American Cities, 2000 at

(10) Knowledgeplex

A web site sponsored by the Fannie Mae Foundation with new resources for news, data, information and articles about affordable housing and community development. Available on the Internet at

(11) Local Surveys

Local or state housing or redevelopment agencies, metropolitan planning councils, universities or others may do local surveys of housing needs for various purposes.