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1 Gerald Prante, New Census Data on Property Taxes on Homeowners 1 (2009)

handle is hein.taxfoundation/ffbjcxz0001 and id is 1 raw text is: FOUNDATION
September 2009
No. 192


New Census Data on Property Taxes on
By Gerald Prante
The Census Bureau has released new housing numbers courtesy of the 2008 American Community
Survey (ACS), which includes real estate taxes paid on owner-occupied housing units. Data is included
for many geographical units, including states and high-population counties. I 2
The Tax Foundation has long published historical data on property tax collections compiled by the
Census Bureau's Government Finances division. However, such data includes not only taxes paid by
individual homeowners, but also property taxes paid by businesses, as well as some special types of
property pertaining to minerals or fuels found mostly in a handful of states, such as Texas, Wyoming
and Alaska. When people want to know where property taxes are the highest, though, they typically
wonder about property taxes levied specifically on homeowners. This is where the ACS data is useful.
Background Information on American Community Survey Data
The ACS relies on survey data collected from households, just as the Census collects most of its
information. The survey data collected in the ACS, as well as in other Census household surveys such
as the Current Population Survey (CPS), is used in many government functions, such as decisions on
how to distribute spending geographically and the calculation of the official poverty estimates and
labor market statistics, among others. In fact, the real estate taxes data featured here is actually used by
some governminent agencies. including the Department of Agriculture, in determining spending.
The ACS releases annual one-year data for various housing and person variables for areas with
populations greater than 65,000. Furthermore, the ACS now annually releases three-year averages for
areas with populations greater than 20,000. Such data for 2008 will be available in mid-to-late October
this year, and the Tax Foundation will update the relevant data then as well.
For a chart of real estate taxes paid on owner-occupied housing for each of the 790 high-population
counties (65,000 or greater)3 for 2008, see the Tax Foundation Web site:
http:,/wwv- °taxfoundation.org,taxdata, show, 188ohtim (ranked by taxes as a percentage of home value)
or litt://www.taxfoundation.or/taxdata/show/23649.html (ranked by dollar amount of median real
estate taxes).

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