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Family's home owned or rented

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample children and sample adults, OWNERSHIP indicates whether the house/apartment that the sample person is living in is owned or being bought, rented, or is occupied by some other arrangement by the person or someone in their family or household. Please see the Universe tab for changes to the universe over time.

This variable was first introduced in 1984 as part of the Supplement on Aging. From 1993 to 1996, this variable is part of the Family Resources supplement that provides information on individuals' health benefits, amount of coverage and income received from employment, welfare benefits, public assistance, and savings.

Questions in the Family Resources supplement are different from those in the core survey in terms of the content and the treatment of missing data. Questions in the Family Resources were normally asked of the month prior to the interview while the core survey asked of the last calendar year. All missing data in the Family Resources supplement were imputed by NHIS. Users can refer to the imputation flag variables OWNFL, RENTMONEYFL, and RENTFREEFL to identify persons with imputed data.


In 1997 and 1998, information on dwelling ownership was given in two separate categories "owned" and "being bought" while in 1984, 1993-1996, and 1999 forward, these two categories were combined into a single category "owned or being bought." The change in categories may affect the raw frequencies, but researchers will be able to combine the two categories "owned" and "being bought" in 1997/1998 into one single category "owned or being bought" in order to compare this variable over time.

The category "rent free" is only available in 1984.

In 1984, all sample persons for whom housing ownership information was unavailable were grouped together and coded as "Unknown - don't know" (code 99). For 1997 forward, the reason why this piece of information is unavailable was specified.

Finally, while the basic meaning of this variable is completely comparable over time, major questionnaire changes introduced in 2019 may affect comparability with earlier years. The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1984: Sample persons age 55+.
  • 1993: All persons in quarters 3 and 4.
  • 1994-2018: All persons.
  • 2019-2022: Sample children ages 0-17 and sample adults age 18+.


  • 1984, 1993-2022