Count The Heads Not The Beds

To read the whole article click on the title link above the date.

Here is the housing questions section of the American Community Survey. Notice that it starts out with questions about the building itself and gradually works into questions about your finances. Sort of like the frog in a pan of hot water. Put him in a pan of hot water and he will leap out. Put him in a pan of cool water and gradually heat up the water and poor Froggy never realizes what hit him.

The census is in the United States Constitution Article I Section 2.
It was originally for gaining a head count (enumeration) of voters so accurate representation could take place.

“Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.”
-Article 1 Section 2 United States Constitution

The question is, how did a head count for fair and accurate representation evolve into the questions that are now a part of the “American” Community Survey. Is it possible that “American” Communist Survey would be a more fitting title?

  • The bullets are stand-ins for the actual check boxes on the original paper form.

Housing Questions-American Community Survey

Please answer the following questions about the house, apartment, or mobile home at the address on the mailing label.

1. Which best describes this building?

Include all apartments, flats,etc., even if vacant.
(The U.S. Census Bureau sends American Community Surveys to abandon and vacant building addresses then fills in the data from “similar” communities)

  • A Mobile home
  • A one-family house detached from any other house
  • A one-family house attached to one or more houses
  • A building with two apartments
  • A building with 3 or 4 apartments
  • A building with 5 to 9 apartments
  • A building with 10 to 19 apartments
  • A building with 20 to 49 apartments
  • A building with 50 or more apartments Boat, RV, van, etc

2. About when was the building first built? (Yes, then we built it a second time)

  • 2000 or later – Specify year → I_______I
  • 1990 to 1999
  • 1980 to 1989
  • 1970 to 1979
  • 1960 to 1969
  • 1950 to 1959
  • 1940 to 1949
  • 1939 or earlier

3. When did PERSON 1 (listed on page 2)
move into this house, apartment, or mobile home?

Month I_______I Year I________I

A Answer questions 4 – 6 if this is a HOUSE OR A MOBILE HOME; otherwise
SKIP to question 7a.

4. How many acres is this house or mobile home on?

  • Less than 1 acre → SKIP to question 6
  • 1 to 9.9 acres
  • 10 or more acres

5. IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS, what were the actual sales of all agricultural
products from this property?

  • None
  • $1 to $999
  • $1,000 to $2,499
  • $2,500 to $4,999
  • $5,000 to $9,999
  • $10,000 or more

6. Is there a business (such as a store or barber shop) or a medical office on this
property?

  • Yes
  • No

7. a. How many separate rooms are in this house, apartment, or mobile home?
Rooms must be separated by built-in archways or walls that extend out at
least 6 inches and extend from floor to ceiling.

INCLUDE bedrooms, kitchens, etc.
EXCLUDE bathrooms, porches, balconies, foyers, halls, or unfinished
basements
.

Number of rooms I__________I

b. How many of these rooms are bedrooms?
Count as bedrooms those rooms you would list if this house, apartment,
or mobile home were for sale or rent. If this is an efficiency/studio (try
efficiency or studio ) apartment, print “0”.

Number of bedrooms I________I

8. Does this house, apartment, or mobile home have-

Yes No

a. hot and cold running water?
b. a flush toilet?
c. a bathtub or shower?
d. a stove or range?
e. a refrigerator?
g. telephone service from which you can both make
and receive calls? Include cell phones.

9. How many automobiles, vans, and trucks of one-ton capacity or less are kept

at home for use by members of this household?

  • None
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6 or more

10. Which FUEL is used MOST for heating this house, apartment, or mobile
home?

  • Gas: from underground pipes serving the neighborhood
  • Gas: bottled, tank, or LP (What, they didn’t explain Liquid Propane?)
  • Electricity
  • Fuel oil, kerosene,etc.
  • Coal or coke (Ok, so let’s see how many heating with “coke” jokes you
  • Wood
  • Solar energy
  • Other fuel
  • No fuel used

11. a. LAST MONTH what was the cost of electricity for this house, apartment,
or mobile home?

Last month’s cost – Dollars I$____.00I

OR

  • Included in rent or condominium fee
  • No charge or gas not used

b. LAST MONTH what was the cost of gas for this house, apartment,
or mobile home?

Last month’s cost – Dollars I$____.00I

OR

  • Included in rent or condominium
  • No charge or gas not used

12. IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS, did anyone in this household receive FOOD
Food Stamps or a Food Stamp benefit card?

  • Yes
  • No

13. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home part of a condominium?

  • Yes → What is the monthly condominium fee?

For renters answer only if you pay the condominium fee in addition to your rent; otherwise, mark the “None” box.

Monthly amount – Dollars I$____.00I

OR

  • I__I None

14. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home – Mark (X) ONE box.

  • Owned by you or someone in this household with a mortgage or loan? Include home equity loans.
  • Owned by you or someone in this household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan?)
  • Rented?
  • Occupied without payment of rent → SKIP to C

B Answer questions 15a and b if this house, apartment, or mobile home is
RENTED. Otherwise, SKIP to question 16.

15 a. What is the monthly rent for this house, apartment, or mobile home?
Monthly amount – Dollars I$___.00I

b. Does the monthly rent include any meals?

  • Yes
  • No

C. Answer questions 16 – 20 if you or someone else in this
household OWNS or IS BUYING this house, apartment,
or mobile home. Otherwise SKIP to E on the next page.

Realtors are going to love this next one. First the U.S. Census Bureau
deemed it necessary to explain to Person 1 how to mark an “X” in a box
and now asks Person 1 to do an appraisal on the property. Also note that apparently
they feel the need to make it quite clear that they are asking for a dollar amount.
What, they don’t want it in pesos? Maybe next time.

16. About how much do you think this house and lot, apartment, or mobile
home (and lot, if owned) would sell for if it were for sale?

Amount – Dollars I$___________.00I

17. What are the annual real estate taxes on THIS property?

Annual amount – Dollars I$________.00I
OR

I_I None

18. What is the annual payment for fire, hazard, and flood insurance on
THIS property?
Annual amount – Dollars I$____.00I

19.a. Do you or any member of this household have a mortgage, deed of trust,
contract to purchase, or similar debt on THIS property?

  • Yes, mortgage, deed of trust, or similar debt
  • Yes, contract to purchase
  • No → SKIP to question 20a

b. How much is the regular monthly mortgage payment on THIS property?

Monthly amount – Dollars I$_____.00I
OR
No regular payment required → SKIP to question 20a

c. Does the regular monthly mortgage payment include
payments for real estate taxes on THIS property?

  • Yes, taxes included in mortgage payment
  • No, taxes paid separately or taxes not required

d. Does the regular monthly mortgage payment include
payments for fire, hazard, or flood insurance on THIS property?

  • Yes, insurance included in mortgage payment
  • No, insurance paid separately or no insurance

20. a. Do you or any member of this household have a second mortgage
or a home equity loan on THIS property?

  • Yes, home equity loan
  • Yes, second mortgage
  • Yes, second mortgage and home equity loan
  • No → SKIP to D

b. How much is the regular monthly payment on all second or
junior mortgages and all home equity loans on THIS property?

Monthly amount – Dollars I$______.00I
OR
I_I No regular payment required

D. Answer question 21 if this is a MOBILE HOME, otherwise, SKIP to E

21. What are the total annual costs for personal property taxes, site rent,
registration fees, ans license fees on THIS mobile home and it’s site?

Annual costs – Dollars I$_________.00I

E. Answer questions about PERSON 1 on the next page if you listed at least
one person on page 2. Otherwise, SKIP to page 28 for the mailing instructions.

And there you have it, the housing questions you will be answering as part of the “Confidential” American Community Survey.

Resident Apt 1

All articles on this blog are the property of the author, with the exception of the excerpts from the public document the American Community Survey. No part of this publication maybe reproduced without written consent from the author. However, the author grants permission to place a link to this blog on web pages that address similar content.

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