American Housing Survey: Metropolitan Surveys


Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans, Data Catalog

American Housing Survey:  Metropolitan Surveys

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Sponsor: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Description: The Metropolitan Area Surveys portion of the American Housing Survey (AHS Metro Survey) collects data on housing, including apartments, single-family homes, mobile homes, vacant housing units, household characteristics, income, housing and neighborhood quality, housing costs, equipment and fuels, size of housing unit, and recent movers in a selection of metropolitan areas across the country. Data are gathered for about 14 metropolitan areas in even-numbered years until a total of 47 metropolitan areas have been covered. That is, householders in selected areas are interviewed every 6 years until all 47 metropolitan areas have been surveyed. The cycle begins again 6 years later. Since 1984, each metropolitan area has been represented by a sample of at least 3,200 designated housing units. The units are divided between the central city and the rest of the metropolitan area.
Relevant Policy Issues: Housing Quality, Type of Housing, and Housing Ownership.
Data Type(s): Survey
Unit of Analysis: Individuals, Households, and Metropolitan areas.

A household consists of all people who occupy a particular housing unit as their usual residence, or who live there at the time of the interview and have no usual residence elsewhere. The usual residence is the place where the person lives and sleeps most of the time. This place is not necessarily the same as a legal residence, voting residence, or domicile. Households include not only occupants related to the householder but also any lodgers, roomers, boarders, partners, wards, foster children, and resident employees who share the living quarters of the householder. It includes people temporarily away for reasons such as visiting, traveling in connection with their jobs, attending school, in general hospitals, and in other temporary locations. By definition, the count of households is the same as the count of occupied housing units.

Identification of AI/AN/NA: Race is self-reported. Participants were asked to respond to the question on race by indicating one or more of six race categories. The six race categories were:
  • White
  • Black or African American
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN)
  • Asian
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (NH/PI)
  • Some Other Race (this category is not read or displayed to the respondent)
AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: The following categories reflect the unweighted counts for the recoded AI/AN/NA relevant response categories in the 2004 AHS Metro Survey:
TOTAL: 62,005
AI/AN: 350
NH/PI: 122
White/AI/AN: 555
White/NH/PI: 27
Black/AI/AN: 74
Black/NH/PI: 6
AI/AN/Asian: 1
Asian/NH/PI: 11
White/Black/AI, AN: 40
White/AI/AN/Asian: 1
White/Asian/NH/PI: 1
White/AI/AN/Asian: 5
Geographic Scope: The geographic scope of the AHS Metro Survey is national. Geographic analysis is possible by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the following groupings or in a combined data set:
  • The 2004 AHS Metro Survey covered 13 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Hartford, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Orleans, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Sacramento, San Antonio, Seattle-Everett.
  • The 2002 AHS Metro Survey covered 13 metropolitan areas: Anaheim-Santa Ana, Buffalo, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas, Fort Worth-Arlington, Kansas City, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Portland, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Diego.
  • The 1998 AHS Metro Survey covered 15 metropolitan areas: Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Cincinnati, Houston, Minneapolis, Norfolk/Newport News, Oakland, Providence, Rochester, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose, Tampa, Washington, DC.
Date or Frequency: The AHS Metro Survey was conducted annually between 1974 and 1996, and has been conducted biannually since 1998 with the exception of 2000 (a census year).
Aggregation: No specific guidance regarding aggregation of the data exists in the extensive documentation on the AHS Metro Survey. The numbers of AI/AN/NA represented in each survey are sufficiently large to permit analyses for the specific metropolitan areas sampled in that years data collection effort, so aggregation to compensate for small Ns is not necessary. If, however, the analyst wished to aggregate across data collection years to expand the number of MSAs in the data set, it would be advisable to use the AHS National data set (also, included in this catalog) rather than the Metro data set.
Data Collection Methodology: In-person interviews and telephone interviews are conducted by field interviewers.
Participation: Optional, without incentives
Response Rate: For 2004, the overall weighted response rate was 91 percent.
Sampling Methodology: To draw the AHS Metro Survey sample, the Census Bureau initially grouped the housing units enumerated in the 1990 Census of Population and Housing into census blocks and assigned these blocks to either the unit/group quarters frame or the area frame. Blocks located in an area that issued permits for new construction were assigned to the unit/group quarters frame. All other blocks were assigned to the area frame.

The unit/group quarters frame was then split into the unit frame and the group quarters frame by removing all group quarters and placing them in a separate frame. All housing units that were built after the 1990 census in areas where construction of new homes was monitored by building permits were placed into a separate frame, called the permit frame.

Sampling operations for all frames were performed separately within a designated group of counties in each state. Prior to the AHS Metro Survey sample selection, records selected by other Census Bureau surveys were removed from each of the frames to avoid having the same housing unit in sample for more than one survey. The Census Bureau selected the AHS Metro Survey sample from the remaining records.

Authorization: The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the American Housing Survey (AHS) to obtain up-to-date housing statistics for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Title 12, Sections 1701Z-1 and 1701Z-2g of the U.S. Code authorize the Secretary of HUD to collect data from public and private agencies and protect the confidentiality of the data. Title 12, Section 1701Z-10 mandates the collection of the data for the AHS. This mandate covers the collection of data for the 2004 AHS Metro Survey.
Strengths: Data are collected on key policy issues, including housing. There are multiple years of data available. There are a large number of AI/ANs in the sample.
Limitations: Each data collection round of the AHS Metro Survey is limited to a relatively small number of metropolitan areas across the nation.
Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: Data are available to the public at no cost.
Contact Information: The American Housing Survey Branch can be contacted by email at or by phone at (301) 763-3235.

Older AHS Metro Survey data sets can be requested via HUDUSER (see for list of specific datasets available).

Tables, reports and the actual data for 1998, 2002, and 2004 can be downloaded from:

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