Home ownership provides a number of financial, social, and health benefits to American families. Especially in areas with housing price appreciation, home ownership is a wealth building mechanism and homeowners are also eligible to receive substantial federal and local tax benefits. Owning a home also provides families with increased residential stability, which can translate into improved school performance for children. The financial stake owners have in their neighborhood also is viewed as something that spurs them to become more-engaged in their community, and there is some research that has found that home ownership also can translate to improved health. The National Association of Realtors has compiled a summary of research related to the benefits of home ownership.
Several different datasets can be used to measure homeownership in Allegheny County. Data is available from the U.S. Census Bureau that measures homeownership at the Census Tract level, and can be used to compare communities in Allegheny County to others in the U.S. Administrative data from Allegheny County’s Office of Property Assessment can also be used to look at the homeownership status of individual residential properties.
Number of owner-occupied housing units
Number of total occupied housing units
Parcels with a homestead exemption
Property owner's address
U.S. Census Bureau Decennial Census data and American Community Survey can be found on the U.S. Census Bureau's American Fact Finder tool, or Southwestern Pennsylvania Community Profiles. The data from a recent five year release of the American Community Survey is included on the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center's Open Data Portal
The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center's Open Data Portal contains data from Allegheny County's Property Assessment database.
A subset of the full assessment data file can also be downloaded on the Regional Data Center's parcels n'at data downloading tool.
Homeownership data can also be viewed parcel by parcel on the Regional Data Center's Property Dashboard.
There are several things data users should know about each available data source in order to use it to better-understand homeownership in Allegheny County.
If using Census Tract home ownership data from the U.S. Census Bureau, it largely will come from one of two programs - either the Decennial Census or the American Community Survey. Data from the Decennial Census is an actual count collected once every ten years.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey at Census Tract geographies is based on a survey sent to a sample, or subset of the population. Because the sample size is fairly small, data collected over a five-year period are combined and presented as "five year" data. Users of the American Community Survey should exercise caution when using and communicating with this data. The Census Bureau provides guidance for data users on its Website,
Parcel level data on ownership is available through the Allegheny County Office of Property Assessment. By looking at properties with a homestead exemption and by comparing the property address with the owner's address, data users can get an up to date and comprehensive picture of home ownership in the County. Details for using the property assessment data in this way are available in the Regional Data Center's Allegheny County Property Assessment User Guide