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Mar 24 -- The Census Bureau invites comments to OMB by April 26, 2023 regarding the renewal of the Housing Vacancy Survey.

The Census Bureau has requested clearance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the collection of data concerning the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS) to be conducted in conjunction with the Current Population Survey (CPS). The Census Bureau sponsors the HVS, which collects data from a sample of vacant housing units identified in the monthly CPS sample. There are no changes to the proposed data collection since the previous clearance, which expires June 30, 2023.

Collection of the HVS in conjunction with the Current Population Survey began in 1956 and serves a broad array of data users. The HVS provides the only quarterly statistics on rental vacancy rates and homeownership rates for the United States, the four census regions, the 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the 75 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Private and public sector organizations use these rates extensively to gauge and analyze the housing market with regard to supply, cost, and affordability at various points in time.

The HVS provides quarterly estimates of national, regional, and state vacancy rates by various characteristics and ownership rates. These data give researchers the ability to guage the housing inventory over time. Information is collected from homeowners, Realtors, and other knowledgeable persons. Policy analysts, program managers, budget analysts, and congressional staff use these data to advise the executive and legislative branches of government with respect to the number and characteristics of units available for occupancy and the suitability of housing initiatives. These data are a component of consumer expenditure statistics. They also are used to project mortgage demand and to measure the adequacy of the supply of rental and homeowner units. In addition, investment firms use the HVS data to analyze market trends and for economic forecasting.

The HVS is collected by both personal visit and telephone interviews in conjunction with the CPS interviewing. The Census Bureau conducts HVS interviews using computer-assisted interviewing with landlords or other knowledgeable people concerning vacant housing units identified in the monthly CPS sample and meeting certain criteria.

What types of data are available? Rental and homeowner vacancy rates and homeownership rates are available for the U.S., regions, states, and for the 75 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). National, regional, state, and MSA data are available both quarterly and annually. Homeownership rates are also tabulated by age of householder and by family status for the U.S. and regions and by race/ethnicity of householder and by median family income for the U.S. In addition, estimates of the total housing inventory and percent distributions of vacant for-rent and for-sale-only units are available for the U.S. and regions.

How many housing units are in the monthly sample? There are about 72,000 housing units, occupied and vacant, selected in the Current Population Survey (CPS) sample. Of these units, about 61,200 are occupied and are eligible for interview each month. In addition to the 61,200, about 10,800 are visited, but found to be vacant or otherwise not interviewed each month. About half of the 10,800 units are vacant and interviewed for the Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS). The HVS is a supplement of the CPS.

Housing Vacancy Survey: https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/index.html
Census submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202303-0607-002 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-06163

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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