Codes and Frequencies
RENTSUB indicates whether the rent on the house, apartment or mobile home is reduced because a Federal, state or local government is paying part of the cost. With rent subsidies, the difference between the "fair market" rent and the rent charged to the tenant in private sector housing is paid to the owner by a government agency, using federal, state, or local funds. See also (PUBHOUS) for information on public housing, an alternative form of housing assistance to low-income families and individuals.
For some variables relating to means-tested government assistance, including RENTSUB, information was collected only from households whose estimated income fell below a given threshold. During the first month that a household entered the survey, and one year later, the CPS interviewer asked the respondent to estimate the family's total income in the past twelve months, by choosing one of fourteen broad categories. Only households in which the household members' combined income fell below a given level (e.g., under 30,000 dollars in the 1980s) were questioned about means-tested program benefits. Households with estimated incomes above the threshold were presumed to not qualify for or receive such benefits, and were not asked these questions, to limit the length of interviews. Households that were not questioned were coded as "no" for several variables relating to the receipt of means-tested benefits, including RENTSUB.
The variable is comparable across the years.
Comparability with IPUMS-USA
In the CPS, only low-income renters who did not live in public housing were asked about rent subsidies. This restriction did not hold for the 2000 C2SS in IPUMS-USA. The C2SS, unlike the CPS, asked recipients of rent subsidies whether their assistance was part of the section 8 program.
- 1976: Households and group quarters whose members were not buying and did not own their house, and who did not live in a public housing project.
- 1977-2017: Interviewed households and group quarters whose members were not buying and did not own their house, and who did not live in a public housing project.
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