The 2017 AHS Neighborhood Description Study
 

Overview

In 2017, HUD added an neighborhood description question to HUD’s 2017 American Housing Survey (AHS) asking respondents whether they considered their neighborhood to be “urban,” “suburban,” or “rural.” The AHS is the nation’s most detailed housing survey and HUD obtained responses to the neighborhood description question from nearly 76,000 households, including approximately 2,150 households in each of 25 large metropolitan areas.

HUD had four principal reasons for adding the neighborhood description question to the 2017 AHS. First, HUD sought to replicate the main findings of another similar survey conducted by the real estate company Trulia. Second, HUD wanted to provide empirical evidence showing how existing federal definitions of urban and rural align with people’s description of their neighborhood. Third, HUD wanted to understand the extent to which existing federal definitions of urban and rural obscure the stylized fact that half of Americans live in a suburban setting. Finally, HUD wanted to provide data to help inform discussions around the next generation of Federal definitions, including the Census Bureau’s 2020 Urban Areas and OMB’s 2023 Core-based Statistical Areas.

HUD is making available a series of summary tables summarizing some basic results. In 2019, HUD will release a full report showing how numerous existing federal definitions of urban and rural align with respondent’s neighborhood description.

Summary Tables

The Microsoft Excel workbook below contains 23 tables presenting cross-tabulations of existing federal definitions of urban and rural with respondent’s neighborhood description.


Download Workbook

Future Plans

In 2019, HUD will release a full report showing how numerous existing federal definitions of urban and rural align with respondent’s neighborhood description. This website will host the report, as well as other data and research products developed from the 2017 AHS neighborhood description question.

For additional information, please contact Shawn Bucholtz at shawn.j.bucholtz@hud.gov.