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AHS Update: Major Table Creator Design Changes Released Today!

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Four major 2015 American Housing Survey (AHS) design changes have been made to the Table Creator. You can now:

  1. Display the margin of error (MOE) for an estimate
  2. Explore four new geographic by-group variables
  3. Incorporate a new Worst Case Needs by-group variable
  4. Enable additional geographic by-group variables with disclosure-based cell suppression

We've also made 12 additional data and display revisions that will make it easier to use AHS data in your work. With your help, we discovered and fixed some issues, adjusted formulas, corrected values, and changed some symbols, titles, headings and date/time stamps.

The major design updates as well as the data and display revisions are detailed below.

Thank you for your continuous feedback on how to improve the survey. Your comments informed many of the design changes and revisions.

The AHS team always welcomes feedback on how to improve the survey for better use. If you have any additional questions or comments or need help, contact the AHS team at 1-800-245-2691 and by email at

Happy holidays!


Four major design changes have been made to the 2015 tables in the AHS Table Creator:

    1) Margin of error
    Users now have the option to display the margin of error (MOE) for each estimate. MOEs can be displayed via the new "View" drop-down menu available below the Filter section of the Table Criteria menu panel. For more information on how to interpret MOEs, visit the Tool Help screen.

    2) Geographic by-groups and filters for 2015
    Four new geographic by-group variables were enabled for 2015. These variables are found on the Variable 1 and Variable 2 drop-down menus, as well as added to the Geography Filter:

    • 2010 Urban Area
    • 2013 Metropolitan Area
    • 2010 Rural-Urban Commuting Area
    • 2013 Rural-Urban Continuum Codes

    For definitions of the above geographic areas, visit Subject Definitions.

    3) Worst Case Needs by-group
    A new Worst Case Needs by-group variable was added for 2015. This variable is found on the Variable 1 and Variable 2 drop-down menus. For the definition of Worst Case Needs, visit Subject Definitions.

    4) Cell suppression
    To permit the enabling of additional geographic by-group variables, disclosure-based cell suppression has been added to 2015 table cells. Suppressed cells display as an 'S'.



Twelve minor data or display revisions have been made to the 2015 tables in the AHS Table Creator:

    1) Revised median for Total Vacant Units by Occupancy/Vacancy Status
    This is a fix for an issue identified in the February 8, 2017 Release Note. The cross tabulation of the Total Vacant column of the Occupancy/Vacancy Status by-group and the median rows in the Housing Unit Characteristics table (Year Structure Built and Square Footage of Unit stubs) are now correctly showing actual medians instead of sums of the medians in the other vacant columns.

    • Table: Housing Cost (specifically the "Monthly Total Housing Costs" stub and the "Monthly Total Housing Costs as a Percent of Income" stub).
    • Column variable: "Monthly Housing Cost" and "Monthly Housing Cost as a Percent of Income".

    2) Altered Housing Migration table due to improvements in mover group classification
    This is a fix for an issue identified in the June 20, 2017 Release Note. This table reports values for the first member or groups of members of a household who moved. We developed a new mover group variable, which shifted some movers to different mover groups, resulting in an overall increase to the first mover group. As a result, the revised table has slightly higher estimates than previously published. We had previously anticipated this change would affect estimates in the Neighborhood Search and Satisfaction table as well, but the revision seemed to have had no affect at all because unlike the Migration table, this table tallies all mover groups together and the changes to the mover groups resulted in no net change to total movers.

    3) Fixes for Asian race data due to processing
    This is a fix for an issue identified in the August 9, 2017 Release Note. The "Race and Hispanic Origin" stub of the Household Demographics table had an error affecting the eight rows indented under the "Asian alone" row. Specifically, the error was in the Vietnamese category, leading to underreporting of that category. This error has been corrected, leading to an increase in Vietnamese estimates. Users should note that due to imputation processes, most other Asian categories decreased because of the increased Vietnamese estimates. This error did not affect any of the Column Variable by-groups.

    4) Revision to Home Improvement Characteristics table medians
    This is a fix for an issue identified in the September 15, 2017 Release Note. The "Routine Maintenance Costs in Typical Year" stub of the Home Improvement Characteristics table had an error in the median row for the metropolitan areas tables that was erroneously summing all the rows except the "not reported" row and labeling it a median. That error has been corrected.

    5) More accurate interpolated medians (Year Built)
    In previous releases, the median year built figures were rounding up about 50 percent of the time. This was incorrect. The formula for interpolating medians has been adjusted to round values down, which is more accurate within the context of a calendar year. As a result, about half of the Year Built medians have decreased by one year.

    6) Bathrooms stub now displaying all rows for all geographies
    In previous releases, the "Sink and tub present" row of the Housing Unit Characteristics table was not displaying data. After closer inspection, it was discovered that Portland and Cleveland had values for this row. Data are now displaying for Portland and Cleveland. All other metropolitan areas, as well as the National tables, continue to show ".", which is correct.

    7) Mold stub now displaying all data for metropolitan areas
    A programming error erroneously replaced metropolitan area values in the 'Not reported' row of the Mold stub in the Housing Quality table with a "." for all metropolitan areas. The error has been corrected.

    8) Symbols changed
    In 2015, some symbols changed to comply with Census Bureau standards. In 2011 and 2013 tables, blank cells represent zero and rounds to zero. In 2015 tables, blank cells represent true zeros, and a Z represents estimates that round to zero. Cell suppression was also introduced in 2015, resulting in a new symbol, S, which represents estimates that did not meet publication standards. The headnote for 2015 tables reflects these changes.

    9) Full Metropolitan Area names in table titles
    The 2015 AHS metropolitan areas exactly match the February 2013 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) definitions of Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs). However, for prior years that is not always the case because geographic boundaries change over time. To reduce confusion, more details were added to the names of metropolitan areas below the table title. When comparing a metropolitan area between different survey years, use these detailed metropolitan area names to determine if they are comparable. For a detailed description of changes in geographic boundaries between 2015 and 2013, see Summary of the Differences between the 2015 and 2013 AHS Metro Areas.

    10) New data column headings
    Due to the addition of margins of error, a new column heading has been added to every column. Depending on which Filter View is chosen, the words "Estimate" or "Margin of Error" will appear in every column heading to distinguish which data is being displayed.

    11) Date and time stamp on Excel files
    Excel file downloads now display a date and time stamp below the table. The stamp appears in the following format: "Generated on DDMMMYY." The time is also included (E.g. Generated on: 30NOV17:14:04:54).

    12) Sub-universe added to the Housing Migration table
    Due to suggestions from data users, a sub-universe row has been added to the Housing Migration table called "Respondent Moved During Past Two Years" to clarify that the universe for the "Reasons for Leaving Previous Residence" stub is different from the universes of other stubs in the table. The universe for the "Reasons for Leaving Previous Residence" stub matches the universe of the Housing and Neighborhood Search and Satisfaction table.