Housing and Vacancy Survey

Hi Michelle,

I am trying to analyze homeownership trends using HVS data. However, it seems like the only available data are from ACS. Am I missing something?


The Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) is a supplement of the CPS. Unfortunately, the HVS is not one of the supplements we have available through IPUMS CPS (if you click on the supplement topics tab here, you will see those that are available).

The American Community Survey (ACS) is available through IPUMS USA and does have vacancy information available. In the ACS, as well as several decennial census samples, VACANCY identifies vacant housing units and reports the reason for the vacancy.

This link, which provides a good explanation of differences in homeownership rate estimates across three surveys including the CPS/HVS and ACS, may be helpful.

Michelle and all: I am looking at the May, 2021 hierarchical CPS data. It seems from what you’re saying here, that the CPS hierarchical data doesn’t work the same way the ACS hierarchical data does in showing vacant housing units. Is this true? I see in the CPS hierarchical data Household records with NFAMS = 0, but these all have HWTFINL as 0 as well, which seems to support the conclusion that vacancy data can’t be seen in CPS. Again, can you confirm this? Thanks.

Hierarchical extracts from CPS include both occupied and vacant units. You can find information about the household type in the variable HHINTYPE. Most of the Type B and C non-interviews were vacant housing units. The unharmonized variables for HHINTYPE sometimes contain more detail, such as separating out Type B and Type C non-interviews. The variables UH_OUTCOME_B1 and UH_OUTCOME_B2 contain a lot more detail on the housing unit status. Some other info on housing is available as unharmonized variables. You may also want to browse the unharmonized technical household variables.

Unfortunately, the Housing Vacancy Survey variables, including weights (which are described on pp. 17-18 of the 2019 CPS Design and Methodology Report) are not included in the CPS microdata released by the Census Bureau. However, since the HVS is only conducted for vacant housing units, I think the summary data published by the Census Bureau should contain the information most researchers would need.