Skip Navigation
In This Section:
Search the Data About the Data Data Sources

American Housing Survey (AHS)


The American Housing Survey (AHS) collects data on the nation's housing, including apartments, single family homes, mobile homes, and vacant housing units. Unlike most surveys, the primary focus is on the housing unit; the survey does gather information on the people living in the housing units, primarily to relate the people characteristics to the housing characteristics. Since the AHS is a longitudinal survey, returning to the same housing units every year, the survey can be used to analyze the flow of households through housing.


Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau (HUD and Census)

Data Years Available





Personal interviews and telephone interviews.

Selected Content

Characteristics of the housing unit (e.g., age, condition, size, type of fuel); neighborhood characteristics; household composition; demographic and economic characteristics of household members; previous unit of recent movers.

Population covered

Housing units in the U.S.


The AHS conducts two surveys: a national survey and a metropolitan survey. The national survey gathers information on housing throughout the country and is in the field in odd-numbered years. The 2009 metropolitan survey covers households in seven metropolitan areas. A sample of housing units was selected from the decennial survey. These are updated by a sample of addresses obtained from building permits to include housing units constructed since the sample was selected. The survey goes back to the same housing units on a regular basis, recording changes in characteristics, adding and deleting units when applicable.

Response rate and sample size

The national survey includes a sample of about 55,000 housing units. Each metropolitan survey sample includes 4,100 or more housing units.

Interpretation Issues


References and related web pages. Accessed August 24, 2010.