Can Administrative Housing Data Replace Survey Data?


This article examines the feasibility of using local administrative data sources for enhancing and supplementing federally collected survey data to describe housing in Arlington County, Virginia. Using real estate assessment data and the American Community Survey (ACS) from 2009 to 2013, we compare housing estimates for six characteristics: number of housing units, type of housing unit, year built, number of bedrooms, housing value, and real estate taxes paid. The findings show that housing administrative data can be repurposed to enhance and supplement the ACS, but limitations exist. We then discuss the challenges of repurposing housing administrative data for research.