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"HUD Makes Critical Race Data Available for Housing Programs"

March/April 2010 issue of Poverty & Race

HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research recently enhanced its “Picture of Subsidized Households” online database to make readily available to the public detailed demographic information about both its project-based and its tenant-based housing programs. The database includes a relatively user-friendly search engine and an online report generator that makes it possible to narrow your data requests by the type of housing program or by geographic area. In addition, the database provides limited information on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program (even though it is not a HUD program). The new “2008 Picture of Subsidized Households” is available at:

For researchers and mappers these improvements are significant. For each project-based housing development, HUD now provides the geo-codes to map the project location. And for the tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher program, HUD has for the first time provided census tract data with the percentage of voucher holders in each data category. Since HUD also includes the total number of voucher holders in each tract, you can readily calculate the numbers of minority and non-minority voucher households, by tract, to compare where minority and non-minority voucher households use their subsidies.

Until this update, the most detailed data in the “Picture of Subsidized Households” were over a decade old. And, while the format itself was enticing, many of the data were missing or incomplete. It looks like HUD has now remedied much of those shortcomings. The current database is compiled from the 2008 individual household reports that are completed by program participants when they apply for or are recertified for housing assistance. The data come directly from HUD’s required “Family Report Form” (HUD 50058 or 50059). Confidentiality is assured to the households, however, because only aggregate data for a particular housing development or for a specific census tract are provided. If a tract includes ten or fewer assisted households, the data are withheld.

The available data for each housing development (or in the case of the Housing Choice Voucher program, for each census tract) are:
  • Household Size and Composition

  • Amount and Source of income

  • Age and Disability Status

  • Race and Ethnicity

  • Poverty Status
For comparison purposes, the database also includes percentage of minority concentration and the poverty concentration (from the 2000 Census) for the tract in which a particular housing development is located.

For a more detailed description of the 2008 “Picture of Subsidized Households” and sample map presentations illustrating its potential, see the article at: HUDPicture.pdf

For additional information, contact Michael Hanley at the Empire Justice Center, Rochester, NY (MHanley@

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