Federal Register Comments

HAC's Comments on the U.S. Census Bureau's Proposed Changes to the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS)


The ACS provides relatively limited data on basic structural and quality characteristics of American homes, such as adequate plumbing and kitchen facilities. The Census survey classifies a home as having adequate plumbing facilities if it contains three basic characteristics of: 1) ‘hot and cold piped water’, 2) a ‘flush toilet’, and 3) a ‘bathtub or shower.’ Citing an “unnecessary burden on the American public” the Census Bureau is proposing to discontinue the ‘flush toilet’ criteria when determining if a housing unit has adequate plumbing.

The Housing Assistance Council opposes the Census Bureau’s plan to eliminate the flush toilet indicator from the ACS. HAC recommends that the plumbing facilities question in the ACS be retained in its current form. This housing characteristic it is an important indicator of basic housing quality, and integral to help inform policies and strategies to eliminate substandard housing in the United States.