U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header

Census Bureau Highlights Construction and Housing Statistics for American Housing Month

June 27, 2017 — If you want to understand our nation’s construction and housing market, the U.S. Census Bureau is a great place to find key construction and housing data. The Census Bureau has more than 20 surveys, economic indicators, programs and tools designed to cover all aspects of construction and housing.

From the number of new residential building permits issued in a specific state, county or metropolitan area to detailed survey data on topics such as housing quality, home improvements, neighborhood quality, and rental and homeowner vacancy rates, the Census Bureau provides a comprehensive view on a variety of construction and housing characteristics across the country.

In celebration of American Housing Month, here’s a look at the robust construction and housing statistics the Census Bureau makes available on census.gov.

Here is a graphic that highlights some of our housing data. ( PDF | JPG )

Survey Data

The surveys below contain housing related information about the American people and where they live.

  • American Community Survey
    • An ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about our nation and its people for all levels of geography down to the block-group level.
    • Contains data on whether people own or rent their homes, costs associated with owning or renting, and general housing unit characteristics.
  • American Housing Survey
    • Provides current and continuous series of data on a wide range of housing and demographic characteristics.
    • Conducted every two years (latest data are from 2015).
    • Data are available at the national level and for selected metropolitan statistical areas.
    • Sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Current Population Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey
    • One of the oldest, largest and most well recognized surveys in the United States.
    • Provides current information on rental and homeowner vacancy rates, characteristics of housing units available for occupancy, and percentage distributions of vacant for-rent and for-sale-only units. Also provides homeownership rates and estimates of the total housing inventory.
    • Data are available quarterly and annually.
  • Decennial Census Data
  • New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey
    • Contains detailed data that covers many characteristics of the city’s housing market, such as characteristics of the city’s population, households, housing stock, neighborhoods and the rental vacancy rate (latest data is from 2014).
    • Survey conducted every three years.
    • Sponsored by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
  • Survey of Market Absorption
    • Provides vital data measuring how quickly privately financed, nonsubsidized, unfurnished units in buildings with five or more units are rented or sold (absorbed) after completion.
    • Data are available quarterly and annually.
    • Sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Rental Housing Finance Survey
    •  Provides data on the financial, managerial and physical characteristics of rental properties nationwide.
    • Sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Construction Data

  • Building Permits Survey
    • Provides data on the number of new housing units authorized by building permits.
    • Data are available monthly, year-to-date and annually at the national, state, selected metropolitan area, county and place levels.
  • New Residential Construction
    • Provides national and regional data on the number of new housing units authorized by building permits; authorized, but not started; started; under construction; and completed.
    • Data are for new, privately owned housing units, excluding "Housing and Urban Development-code" manufactured (mobile) homes.
    • The data are from the Building Permits Survey and the Survey of Construction, which is partially funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • New Residential Sales
    • Provides national and regional estimates on the number of new single-family houses sold and for sale.
    • Provides national data on median and average prices, the number of houses sold and for sale by stage of construction, and other statistics.
    • Data are from the Survey of Construction, which is partially funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Characteristics of New Housing
    • Provides national, annual data on the characteristics of new privately owned residential structures.
    • Many characteristics are available at the region level.
    • The data are from the Survey of Construction, which is partially sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Construction Spending (also known as Construction Put in Place)
    • Provides monthly estimates of the total dollar value of construction work done in the United States.
    • Covers construction work done each month on new structures or improvement to existing structures for the private and public sectors.
  • Manufactured Housing Survey
    • Provides national and state data on shipments of new manufactured homes as well as national and regional data on prices and characteristics of new manufactured housing.
    • Sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The below economic surveys provide information on construction and housing related data that influence the economy.

  • Manufacturing
    • Includes data related to appliances, fixtures, furniture, building products and other construction related products.
    • Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, & Orders provides monthly statistics on the value of shipments, inventories, orders and unfilled orders for durable goods and nondurable goods of domestic manufacturing.
    • Annual Survey of Manufactures produces national statistics on employment, payroll, benefits, cost of materials consumed, operating expenses, value of shipments, value added by manufacturing, capital expenditures, fuels and electric energy used, and inventories of domestic manufacturing.
  • Wholesale Trade
    • Includes data related to furniture and home furnishings; lumber and other construction materials; electrical and electronic goods; and hardware, plumbing and heating equipment supplies.
    • Monthly Wholesale Trade Survey provides month-to-month trends for sales and inventories of U.S. merchant wholesalers.
    • Annual Wholesale Trade Survey provides detailed industry measures of sales, e-commerce, end-of-year inventories, inventories held outside the United States, purchases and total operating expenses.
  • Retail Trade

Includes data on furniture and home furnishing stores, electronics and appliance stores, building materials and garden equipment, and supplies dealers (including paint and wallpaper stores, and hardware stores.

  •  Monthly Retail Trade Survey provides monthly estimates on the dollar value of retail sales and end-of-month inventories.
  • Annual Retail Trade Survey provides national estimates of total annual sales, e-commerce sales, end-of-year inventories, purchases, total operating expenses, inventories held outside the United States, gross margins, and end-of-year accounts receivable for retail businesses and annual sales, total operating expenses and e-commerce sales for accommodation and food service firms located in the United States.
  • Services

Provides information on personal and household goods repair and maintenance, consumer goods rental, real estate, insurance agents and brokers, finance, and more.

  • Quarterly Services Survey provides quarterly estimates on revenue and percentage change of taxable and tax-exempt service industries.
  • Service Annual Survey provides annual services sector statistics including operating revenue for both taxable and tax-exempt firms and organizations; sources of revenue and expenses by type for selected industries; operating expenses for tax-exempt firms; and selected industry-specific items, e-commerce data, and export and inventory data (for selected industries.)
  • Economy-Wide -

Listed below are the data that are available across all of the industries described above.   In addition, these data provide key information on construction businesses, including specialty trade contractors.

  • County Business Patterns provides annual data for establishments with paid employees. Data include the number of establishments, employment, first quarter and annual payroll, and annual data by industry down to the state, county, metropolitan statistical area and zip-code level.
  • Nonemployer Statistics provides annual data for establishments without paid employees. Data consist of the number of businesses and total receipts by industry down to the state, county, metropolitan statistical area, and by legal form of organization (United States only).
  • Economic Census provides information collected once every 5 years on establishments, employment, payroll, value of shipments, sales, receipts, revenues, inventories and other expense data such as materials used, capital expenditures and miscellaneous subjects. Data also provide product lines, size and geography, including state, county, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, and by legal form of organization (United States only). 
  • Quarterly Workforce Indicators are a set of economic indicators including employment, job creation, earnings and other measures of employment flows. The Quarterly Workforce Indicators are reported based on detailed firm characteristics (geography, industry, age, and size) and worker demographics information (sex, age, education, race, and ethnicity) and are available tabulated at national, state, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, county, and Workforce Investment Board areas.
  • U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services (also known as the FT-900 report)
    • The U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Report, released jointly with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, provides the official source of comprehensive data on imports and exports of goods and services.
    • Provides data on international trade in goods and services related to construction and housing industrial supplies and materials (e.g., shingles, wallboard, lumber, plywood, iron and steel products). 
  • Quarterly Financial Report
    • Provides statistics on the sales, profits, assets, liabilities, stockholders’ equity, and related financial and operating ratios of corporations.
    • Includes information on electrical equipment, appliances, and components and furniture and related products manufacturing economy.

Data Tools

This interactive application provides statistics on construction and housing from various Census Bureau surveys.

This interactive application allows users to create customized tables using the American Housing Survey.

  • Census Business Builder
    • Provides selected demographic and economic data from the Census Bureau tailored to specific types of users in a simple to access format.
    • Ability to access homeownership data at the state, county, city/town (“place”), zip code and neighborhood (census tract) levels.
    • Available in two editions: Small Business Edition and Regional Analyst Edition.

Provides housing statistics for all states, counties, and for cities and towns with populations of 5,000 or more.

Select specific reports/surveys to obtain detailed construction and housing information on topics such as building materials.

This web-based analysis tool enables comprehensive access to the full depth and breadth of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators dataset. Through charts, maps and interactive tables, users can compare, rank and aggregate these indicators across time, geography, and/or firm and worker characteristics on the fly.

This tool provides data on the nation’s international trade in goods and services related to construction including industrial supplies and materials (e.g., shingles, wallboard, lumber, plywood, iron and steel products). All data are updated each month with the release of the latest U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services Report.

The Industry Statistics Portal allows users to easily find and access all of the data available from the Census Bureau for a single type of business.

o   Understanding Construction and Housing Statistics

o   New Residential Construction and Sales (NRC & NRS)

o   Housing Vacancies and Homeownership (CPS/HVS)

o   Construction Put in Place (VIP)

o   Introducing the 2015 American Housing Survey


The Census Bureau provides construction and housing data to policy analysts, program managers, budget analysts, business owners, trade associations and the public. These data are used to monitor housing supply and demand, changes in housing conditions and costs, estimate mortgage demand, and a host of initiatives that are vital to our businesses and communities.


Is this page helpful?
Thumbs Up Image Yes Thumbs Down Image No
255 characters maximum 255 characters maximum reached
Thank you for your feedback.
Comments or suggestions?


Back to Header