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Group Quarters/Residence Rules

Component ID: #ti1446665318

Data users interested in comparing poverty levels and rates across surveys should be aware of how group quarters and residency status are treated in each survey.

Component ID: #ti1324030313

Definition of Group Quarters

The Census Bureau classifies all people not living in housing units (house, apartment, mobile home, rented rooms) as living in group quarters. There are two types of group quarters:

Institutional, such as

  • correctional facilities
  • nursing homes
  • or mental hospitals

Non-Institutional, such as

  • college dormitories
  • military barracks
  • group homes
  • missions
  • or shelters

Component ID: #ti1324030312

Differences by Survey

Annual Social & Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC)

The CPS ASEC sample includes only noninstitutional group quarters. However, it only includes individuals who are “usual residents” at a sample address. "Usual" is defined as the place where the person lives and sleeps most of the time, or the place he or she considers to be his or her usual residence. Therefore, even though a college dorm would be included in the CPS ASEC sample, most students living in dorms would not be included.

American Community Survey (ACS)

Starting in 2006, the ACS sample includes both institutional and non-institutional quarters. Additionally, anyone residing for at least two months at an address is included in the sample. Therefore, students living in dorms may be included in the ACS sample. Prior to 2006, the ACS did not include any group quarters in its sample.

Decennial Census

The Decennial Census includes both institutional and non-institutional group quarters. Individuals are counted at their "usual residence."

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