2009 American Housing Survey by HUD

Most families with young children live within a mile of a public elementary school. The most common home heating fuel in the U.S. is gas. Only a third of American homes have a working carbon monoxide detector. These are just some of the findings of a comprehensive national sample of the more than 130 million residential housing units released recently by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD’s 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS) provides one of the most thorough views inside the homes of millions of Americans and reveals everything from the square footage of the unit to how many homes have front porches, garages or even usable fireplaces. First conducted in 1973, the survey’s long-term design allows analysts to trace the characteristics of U.S. housing units and their occupants. For example, the 2009 survey reveals that significantly more American homes are larger and have more bedrooms and bathrooms than homes 37 years ago. In addition, homes of 1973 were significantly less likely to have central air conditioning and other amenities considered commonplace today.

“This important survey provides us a clear picture of the American home and its occupants,” said Dr. Raphael Bostic, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. “The housing crisis makes clear the need for continued collection of high quality housing data to help us understand housing markets. The numbers behind this survey not only provide valuable information on the composition of our housing stock, but they also help us monitor the mortgage markets, measure worst-case housing needs and inform our policy choices.”

The 2009 AHS includes enhanced data for five metropolitan areas: Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Northern New Jersey. For the first time ever, the AHS also includes data on disability status of household members. The new AHS also includes two independent metropolitan surveys of New Orleans and Seattle. Last conducted in 2004, the New Orleans survey in particular will provide an in-depth progress report of the redevelopment of the metro area following the hurricanes of 2005.

There are 130,112,000 residential housing units in the U.S.; 86% of these are occupied. The median age of ‘the American home’ is 36 years, though the survey finds that homes newly constructed since the 2007 AHS are generally larger, more expensive, have more bedrooms and bathrooms and are more likely to include amenities such as central air conditioning. Some of the other key findings of the 2009 AHS include: 68% of U.S. homes are owner-occupied; 51% are located in suburban areas; 29% in central cities; and 20% outside metropolitan areas; and 18% are located in the Northeast; 23% in the Midwest; 37% in the South; and 22% in the West.

For more information on this survey, please visit www.hud.gov.

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