From housing economist Tom Lawler: Household Estimates Conundrum Alive and Well
One of the most vexing government data issues facing housing economists is the lack of any timely and reliable estimates of the number of US households. To be sure, there is no shortage of household estimates: in addition to the decennial Census counts, Census releases four different estimates of the number of US households. Unfortunately, the estimates not only differ materially, but also show different characteristics of households (e.g., by age) and often show different growth rates over time.
This issue, labeled by Census economists several years ago as the “household estimates conundrum,” was highlighted in the recent release of US household estimates from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS), the 2017 American Housing Survey (AHS), and the 2018 (March) Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS/ASEC). Below is a table showing estimates of the number of US households by age group from each of these surveys, as well as 2017 estimates from the Housing Vacancy Survey, a monthly supplement to the Current Population Survey.
|Different Estimates of the Number of US Households|
by Select Age Groups (000's)
|ACS 2017||AHS 2017||HVS 2017||CPS/ASEC|