Understanding Housing Patterns in the United States (Updated)

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In this activity, students investigate housing patterns in the United States using data from the 2000 U.S. Census. Students analyze data concerning homeownership and housing type to learn about the distribution of homeownership and housing in the United States. They also conduct crosstabular analysis to determine how stage of life course and race/ethnicity influence homeownership and housing type. Students are required to discuss the implication of their findings and related them to concept frequently discussed in an urban sociology course.


Learning Goals


Use data to describe and analyze statistical information

Identify independent and dependent variables

Calculate and read a cross-tabulation to describe the relationship between two variables

Draw conclusions from data analysis


To consider housing patterns in the United States

To relate housing patterns to stage of the life course

To relate housing patterns to racial and ethnic inequality

Context for Use

This exercise was developed for an upper-level course in urban sociology, although it could also be used in courses in urban studies or urban planning. The exercise is designed to be assigned after discussion of topics such as community, neighboring, social networks, and density. Students are required to relate their findings from their data analysis to other concepts discussed in the course. The exercise has several parts, which could be assigned separately. It guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software and data found at DataCounts!

Description and Teaching Materials

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses a customized data set made from information in the 2000 U.S. Census. It guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts! To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!


Students will be given a brief questionnaire to ascertain their skills and competencies before and after completing the exercise.