Highlights from the American Housing Survey


Source: Flickr User Pasa47

Earlier this month, the US Census Bureau released statistics from its 2015 Housing Survey. The survey provides incredible info about the characteristics of occupied housing units in 25 large metropolitan areas and the US as a whole.

There isn’t too much “new” in this latest survey, but it’s given me an opportunity to revisit the overall data.I thought I’d highlight some interesting stats that demonstrate the differences between two metro areas particularly important to me (DC and NYC) and the nation as a whole (see table below).

  • The most common housing type in the DC and NYC metro areas is the same as for the country as a whole – the ubiquitous single family detached home.
  • The second most common housing type shows each area’s uniqueness. For DC, it’s the familiar townhouse and for NYC it’s large buildings with over 50 units.
  • While nearly 6% of housing units in the US are mobile/trailers, only 0.5% of housing units in the DC or NYC areas are.
  • The busiest decade for housing construction was the 1950s for NYC, the 1970s for the US, and the 2000s for DC. Perhaps as a result of this age, fully 71% of units in NYC require step(s) to access (it’s about 55% for DC and the US).
  • While a third of all US housing units are in 1-story structures, only 6% and 5% are in DC and NYC, respectively.


Source: Author, via 2015 American Housing Survey (Census Bureau), Accessed 1/25/2017

Note: While I say “DC” and “NYC”, the data is looking at their metropolitan areas, not just the city proper. 

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