Frequently Asked Questions

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Can you tell me more about group quarters (GQ) or group housing facilities in the American Community Survey (ACS)?

Group Quarters (GQ) are places where people live or stay, in a group living arrangement, which are owned or managed by an entity or organization providing housing and/or services for the residents. This is not a typical household-type living arrangement. These services  may  include custodial or medical care as well as other types of assistance, and residency is commonly restricted to those receiving these services. People living in group quarters are usually not related to each other.

Group quarters include such places as college residence halls, residential treatment centers, skilled nursing facilities, group homes, military barracks, correctional facilities, and workers’ dormitories.

Group quarters are categorized into two groups, institutional and non-institutional, in the American Community Survey (ACS) estimates.

Institutional Group Quarters: Includes facilities for people under formally authorized, supervised care or custody at the time of interview, such as correctional facilities, nursing facilities/skilled nursing facilities, in-patient hospice facilities, mental (psychiatric) hospitals, group homes for juveniles, and residential treatment centers for juveniles.

Non-institutional Group Quarters: Includes facilities that are not classified as institutional group quarters, such as college/university housing, group homes intended for adult, residential  treatment facilities for adults, workers’ group living quarters and Job Corps centers, and religious group quarters.

The ACS sample included the group quarters population beginning in 2006. Before that, the ACS only sampled the population living in households.

Please visit the Code Lists, Definitions, and Accuracy page on the ACS website to learn more about group quarters. People living in group housing can also learn more about the group quarters form on the ACS website.


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