No cash rent in ACS 2010 (5 yrs)


I am working with home-related costs from the ACS 2010 (5 yrs) sample. I am having some difficulties understanding the behavior of the “No cash rent” category. Census Fact Finder tells me that roughly 5.5% of the sample should be in this category nationally (Table B25063 for ACS 2010 5 years). However, my analysis of the ACS 2010 (5 yrs) does not confirm this.

In details, I am not sure I am understanding the coding of the variables. In the RENT variable help, I read the following code:

RENT Specific Variable Codes
0001 = No cash rent (1980-1990, ACS, PRCS)

which I interpret as the fact that no cash rents should be coded with a ‘0001’ in the csv file I downloaded. However, there is no RENT = ‘0001’ in the entire file (not even RENT = ‘1’). Therefore, I use the OWNERSHPD to study the category. The code book of the data I downloaded tells me this variable is coded as ‘21’ when the household has a no cash rent. However, when I calculate the proportion of no cash rents in the sample (both with weighted with HHWT and unweighted) I get that no cash renters are roughly 1.6% of the total. Moreover, whenever OWENRSHPD = ‘21’, RENT = ‘0’ – contradicting my interpretation of the RENT coding scheme.

I am wondering where my interpretation of the RENT or OWNERSHPD variables is wrong and what may cause the inconsistency with the Census table.

Thanks in advance for any suggestion.

I had a mistake in the calculation of the no cash rent proportion from the sample. The proportion as calculated from the 2010 ACS microdata sample is consistent with the table on FactFinder. I would still be curious to know how no cash renters are coded in the RENT variable of this sample if possible.

You are right that you should use OWNERSHIPD to identify those with no cash rent. These are coded as 0 in RENT, along with owners and those in group quarters. Sorry for the confusion, we will update the codebook in the next data release.