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Cityscape: Volume 16 Number 1 | Article 17


Housing, Contexts, and the Well-Being of Children and Youth

Volume 16 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Measuring Housing Affordability

Paul Joice
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the official positions or policies of the Office of Policy Development and Research, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the U.S. government.

Data Shop
Data Shop, a department of
Cityscape, presents short articles or notes on the uses of data in housing and urban research. Through this department, the Office of Policy Development and Research introduces readers to new and overlooked data sources and to improved techniques in using well-known data. The emphasis is on sources and methods that analysts can use in their own work. Researchers often run into knotty data problems involving data interpretation or manipulation that must be solved before a project can proceed, but they seldom get to focus in detail on the solutions to such problems. If you have an idea for an applied, data-centric note of no more than 3,000 words, please send a one-paragraph abstract to for consideration.

This article discusses how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) measures housing affordability and presents an analysis of custom tabulations of the 2006–2010 American Community Survey (ACS), known as the "Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) data." The CHAS data combine ACS microdata with HUD-adjusted Median Family Incomes to create estimates of the number of households that would qualify for HUD assistance. Using these data, the author estimates the number of rental units and ownership units that would be affordable to prototypical households at specified income levels.

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