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Home built before 1950

Codes and Frequencies

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HOME1950 reports answers to the question, "Was your home built before 1950?" This question was asked as filter for a follow-up question about testing for lead paint in homes built prior to 1950 (LEADPAINT).

These questions were part of an inquiry into environmental health. In 1991, the questions were in the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention supplement; in 1993, in the Year 2000 Objectives supplement; in 1998, in the Sample Adult Prevention Supplement; and in 2002, in the Sample Adult questionnaire. In 1993, users should employ the SUPP2WT weight with HOME1950 and LEADPAINT, to match the sampling scheme of the 1993 Y2K supplement. In all other years, users should employ SAMPWT with these variables.

Rationale for questions 

Lead was banned from use in both interior and exterior house paint in 1978. The lead content of paint manufactured prior to 1950 was generally higher than the lead content of paint manufactured between 1950 and 1978. Moreover, older homes (i.e., those build before 1950) are more likely to be deteriorating, producing paint chips and dust that may be ingested by young children.

The Mayo Clinic website discussing children's health and lead poisoning notes:

Children are more susceptible to lead poisoning because lead can accumulate in their nervous system as they grow and develop. Death by lead poisoning is uncommon, but dangerous levels of lead in children may cause serious health problems, including lower intelligence and poor school performance. Lead pipes and deteriorated lead-based paint in older homes and high levels of lead-contaminated house dust are the most common sources of lead poisoning in U.S. children.

The 1991 Field Representative's Manual noted that the survey section on environmental health was intended "[t]o provide baseline data on the state of the nation's environmental health, including testing for lead and radon for the 'Year 2000 Objectives of the Nation.'"

The 1993 Manual described the Y2K supplement as "primarily to measure progress toward reaching objectives for the health of the Nation as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services for the Year 2000," while its environmental health component was to provide "current data on the state of the nation's environmental health, including testing for lead and radon."

The 1998 Manual specified a concrete environmental health goal: "to test at least 50% of the homes built before 1950 for the presence of lead paint."

The 2002 Survey Description reported that

two supplementary questions were included in the ASD [Adult Demographics Section] that address the Healthy People 2010 Objectives (DHHS, 2000). HOME50 asks all sample adults if their residences were built before 1950. Those sample adults who answered 'yes' or 'don't know' to HOME50 were then asked whether the paint from their residence had ever been analyzed for lead content.


HOME1950 is completely comparable over time. The wording of the question for the complementary variable LEADPAINT does, however, change over time.


  • 1991: All persons.
  • 1993: Half of sample persons age 18+ in quarters 3 and 4 (excluded from AIDS supplement).
  • 1998; 2002: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1991, 1993, 1998, 2002