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Measuring Housing Insecurity in the American Housing Survey


The American Housing Survey (AHS) is considered to be the nation’s most comprehensive housing survey, covering numerous topics including housing cost and affordability, housing quality, and neighborhood assets. The AHS is an important source of evidence informing a range of policy initiatives from supporting sustainable homeownership to preventing homelessness. The survey collects detailed data on housing cost burdens and severe housing quality deficiencies that form the basis of the “Worst Case Needs” housing reports that HUD submits to Congress every 2 years.

Because the AHS is unique in the level of detail it collects on the characteristics, conditions, and costs of housing and characteristics of occupants, it serves as an ideal platform for testing new ways of measuring housing insecurity. “Housing insecurity” is an umbrella term that encompasses several dimensions of housing problems people may experience, including affordability, safety, quality, insecurity, and loss of housing. This article highlights recent efforts by the Office of Policy Development and Research to measure housing insecurity through special measures of housing affordability and instability in the 2017 AHS and through a forthcoming pilot study of additional housing insecurity questions that we intend to implement in the 2019 AHS.


Source: Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) (2018) Measuring Housing Insecurity in the American Housing Survey.