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Variable Definitions:
Overcrowded Households: The percentage of households with more than one person per one room of their housing unit

American Community Survey (ACS), 5-year estimates, Table B25014

Years Available:

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

*Note: Each year of available data shown above is a 5-year estimate, or an average of data collected over a five year period. 5-year estimates are used to increase the reliability of the data at small geographies like neighborhoods and census tracts. The years shown on the NDSC map represent the final year of the five year average (e.g. “2010” represents 2006-2010 data, “2011” represents 2007-2011 data, and so on). For the most impactful comparison of data over time, the ACS recommends comparing non-overlapping years (e.g. 2010-14 with 2015-19).

Why are these variables important to measure?

Overcrowded Households
A household is considered to be overcrowded if there is more than one person per one room in the housing unit. In this definition “rooms” include living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, finished recreation rooms, enclosed porches suitable for year-round use, and lodger’s rooms.  Excluded are strip or pullman kitchens, bathrooms, open porches, balconies, halls or foyers, half-rooms, utility rooms, unfinished attics or basements, or other unfinished space used for storage. Overcrowded housing in urban areas has been a problem since the beginning of the 20th century and continues to be a problem today. 

Children living in overcrowded households tend to have lower educational achievement, more behavioral issues, and higher rates of physical and mental health problems. On a neighborhood level, overcrowded housing puts a strain on local resources and is an indicator of disparities between population income and housing affordability. Immigrant populations are particularly susceptible to issues of overcrowded housing, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area has one of the highest rates of overcrowded housing in the country. The Overcrowded Households variable is a useful tool for identifying a lack of supply in affordable housing in an area. 

Solari, Claudia D. and Robert D. Mare. “Housing crowding effects on children’s wellbeing: National and longitudinal comparisons.” California Center for Population Research. Link

American Community Survey. 2017 Subject Definitions. Link.

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