2010 US Census ignores HOA demographics

With an estimated 20% of the population (based on industry data) residing in homeowners associations,  a percentage higher than either that of Black of Hispanic categories, the demographics of HOAs remains a mystery.  Who lives in homeowners associations?


The only hint at HOA demographics comes from the 2007 industry survey on HOA satisfaction, sponsored by the Community Associations Institute (CAI) trade group[i].  This sample of some 709 phone calls revealed a significant difference between the sample and the 2000 US Census data[ii]


Category HOA Survey US Census
Age 50+ 61% 27%
Education: college + 68% 24%
Minority 11% 25%
Incomes over $50,000 79% 42%


This difference can be explained by one of two alternatives.  One is that the sample is biased in order to bring about the most highly favorable results for CAI.  The other is that the sample does reflect the norms of  homeowners associations, and reveals that the HOA population represents a distinct class or subset of American society: the senior, educated, white, well-off segment of America. 


The demographics of this survey should be of concern to the policy makers.  If the sample demographics are representative of HOAs, then the claims of HOAs as “affordable housing” should be replaced with the more accurate description, “discriminatory housing.”   Then the public policy that requires only HOA subdivisions for all new housing in an increasing number of towns and cities is discriminatory.  Unless, of course, the above demographics are not representative of homeowner associations.


It would seem that the time has come for “the acceptance of a quiet innovation in housing”[iii] to be exposed to the sunlight, and that a more thorough survey of homeowner association demographics is in order.  Who lives in HOAs?  Are HOAs, aided and abetted by local government mandatory HOAs for new housing,  establishing a class division within America?  



[i] As of this writing, all online links, either on the CAI or Zogby sites, to the details of this study are missing. The Jan. 19, 2008 analysis, see n. 2, references this web address: Survey.  A copy of the methodology was downloaded at that time and can be viewed here, http://pvtgov.org/pvtgov/downloads/survey-2007.pdf.

[ii] See Who lives in an HOA? Public officials take notice  (Jan. 2008).

[iii] Taken from the title of the CAI co-funded book, Community Associations: The Emergence and Acceptance of a Quiet Innovation in Housing. Donald R. Stabile (Greenwood Press 2000).

Published in: on May 18, 2010 at 6:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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