Complete Description:The American Housing Survey (AHS) is the largest, regular national housing sample survey in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the AHS to obtain up-to-date housing statistics for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Although the focus of the AHS is on the housing unit (physical space), the survey captures a rich array of information about the individuals and households who occupy those units, including the financial implications of their housing choices. In the AHS, national data are collected every other year, from a fixed sample of about 50,000 homes selected to represent a cross-section of all housing in the nation, plus new construction each year. In addition to interviewing the households who occupy the housing units, Census Bureau workers obtain information on unoccupied units from landlords, rental agents, or neighbors. The AHS provides detailed data on the size, composition, and condition of the housing inventory; data on financial characteristics of occupants such as monthly housing costs (the sum of all housing costs including utilities, the ratio of housing costs to income, and payment plans of primary and secondary mortgages); and neighborhood quality, such as presence or lack of crime, litter, or housing deterioration. In recent years additional questions provide information about characteristics such as gated communities and home equity loans. The survey asks homeowners about repairs and mortgages, renters about rent control and rent subsidies, recent movers about the homes they left and why they moved, and workers about their commutes. For all occupants the AHS provides age, sex, household relationships, education, wages, and the year the occupants moved into their home. The survey started in 1973, and has had the same sample since 1985, providing a view of how homes and households change over the years. In some metropolitan areas additional samples have been added every 4-6 years to measure local conditions. The most recent national survey data available are from the 2009 survey.