Census tract level for TAXINCL (whether mortgage includes property taxes)

Dear all,

I am wondering if I could get the variable TAXINCL (whether the mortgage payment includes property taxes) at zip code/census tract/census block level. I also wonder what are the available years.


TAXINCL is a variable in IPUMS USA that is available in all IPUMS USA samples from 1980 onward (except the 2010 decennial census). The smallest geographic area identified in the public use microdata (which is what IPUMS USA provides) is usually the public use microdata area (PUMA), a population-defined area of at least 100,000 people. IPUMS geographers are sometimes able to infer county and other geographic areas like city or metropolitan area based on PUMA, depending on how PUMAs intersect with those other areas. Small geographic areas like ZIP code tabulation areas (ZCTA), census tracts, and blocks are not identified in the microdata.

IPUMS NHGIS provides data from the U.S. decennial census and American Community Survey, aggregated at various geographic levels, including smaller areas like ZCTA, census tract, block group, and block. These data are summary data, meaning each row or observation represents a specific geographic area, such as a particular census tract. The columns represent information about each geographic area, such as the number of residents in a particular age group or the number of households within a given income range. IPUMS NHGIS data are advantageous for researchers interested in smaller geographic areas than the PUMA and who do not need to observe information about individuals. Data on a variety of housing related topics are available from IPUMS NHGIS, including mortgage, owner costs, and real estate taxes. However, there is not information equivalent to the variable TAXINCL available from IPUMS NHGIS. I also want to note that this variable would not be helpful to have aggregated at a geographic level in summary data form, as it refers to an individual’s response to another question (MORTAMT1 in IPUMS USA). To determine if NHGIS may be appropriate for your purposes in any case, I would encourage you to start by looking through the data finder and exploring housing topics such as owner costs, housing value or price, and tenure and mortgage status. This short video tutorial explains how to use the data finder to search for specific years of data, geographic breakdowns, and data topics.

Hi Isabel,

Thanks for the detailed explanation! I went through the variable descriptions of all the data you mentioned, but unluckily there is no matched information as you said.

I am interested in getting aggregated level data of TAXINCL and wondering if there’s any special application that I can file to get it. What would you recommend?

The reason that I am asking this is because one paper used this variable and mentioned that “We commissioned special tabulations of the censuses that gave us block group level information on these variables” (whether property tax is included in mortgage payment)
(The hated property tax: Salience, tax rates, and tax revolts. by Marika Cabral and Caroline Hoxby)

Thanks a lot!

The authors did not obtain such a table from IPUMS. Looking at their paper, I see they have a footnote on the statement you quoted, that states:

“U.S. Department of Commerce (2010). We are grateful to the Lincoln Land Policy Institute for supporting the purchase of the special tabulations. Questions on tax escrow and property tax paid have consistently been asked in the Census, but they have not been made available in the summary tape files. The exact wording of the questions is as follows. The question, “Does your regular monthly mortgage payment include payments for real estate taxes on this property?,” is asked of owners who report having a mortgage or similar debt on their property. The question, “What were the real estate taxes on this property last year?,” is asked of owners (regardless of whether they have a mortgage). The answer to this is a dollar amount (exact, not categorical).”

I would recommend reaching out to the authors of the paper if you are hoping to obtain the same data; as stated in the footnote, information on whether property taxes are included in a mortgage payment is not included in summary files (which are the main data source for IPUMS NHGIS). IPUMS NHGIS does not have or provide these specific tables.

Hi Isabel,

Thanks a lot for the prompt reply! I will check the “Census Special Tabulation” they mentioned.

One last question is that is there any possibility that I can request more granularly-aggregated ACS data on the variable TAXINCL?

The smallest level of geography available in the public use ACS microdata (and the smallest level of geography IPUMS has access to ourselves) is the PUMA. You can request more granular geography in restricted versions of ACS data from the Census Bureau.

Note: The program through which the paper authors likely obtained the tract-level tax data is the Census Bureau’s ACS Custom Tables. For a minimum cost of $3000 (“often much more”) and over a minimum timeframe of 8 weeks (“often much longer”), the Census Bureau may create certain custom tabulations if they are acceptable to the Bureau’s Disclosure Review Board.