I was looking at this Urban Institute blog post: https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/owners-and-renters-62-million-units-small-buildings-are-particularly-vulnerable-during-pandemic
I was interested in reproducing it using PUMS data for Cambridge, MA, where we have many small building landlords. As I started working on it, I quickly came to the conclusion that they must be conflating "landlords" with records for property owners. Does anyone know how to identify landlords in the ACS data? I think you could look for housing records for units that are owned, but that doesn't tell you if they own the whole building. You could look for records where the condo fee is $0, but that is not a guarantee. I could not find a way to contact the authors, but it seems suspicious that they have a chart showing race/ethnicity by building size for landlords - how many 50+ unit buildings are owned by a single owner that lives in the building?
If it is true that there are just errors in this analysis, does anyone have ideas on how to look at demographics of owner-occupied small multifamily buildings, ideally at the city level?
I saw that but her DMs are not open and I didn't want to call her out publicly. I will email Urban and see if it makes its way to her.
A quick look through the slides hyperlinked in the first sentence suggests that most of their data on landlords is coming from other sources (e.g., HMDA).
However, slide 13, indicates they are assuming that "owner-occupied" units in multifamily structures == landlords. https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/2020/05/15/small_multifamily_units_0.pdf
I don't think that is an accurate assumption.
good catch, Rebecca - I was reading through the article again looking for some indication on how they interpreted the data. It is always a bit disturbing to me to see data misinterpreted and/or not properly sourced.
swalk3r - have you yet found a way to contact the authors?
Thanks for taking a look JamiRae and Rebecca - I had seen the slides too and it seems to confirm that it's an error. I haven't found a way to contact them directly, but there are some general email addresses available for the Urban Institute. Maybe I will send an email there.
It also looks like the lead author is on Twitter.
perhaps you could just tweet to her "read your article and have some questions. Is there a way to contact you offline?" or ask her to DM you?
I have corresponded with some folks on other teams at Urban and their email addresses take the form of their first initial and lastname @urban.org. So if I worked there, my email would take the form of AMazzara@urban.org. Hopefully that will let you reach out directly.
Just wondering if you got answer from the authors on the questions you had on the data source. We are also asking the same question here...
I emailed their media contact address but never received a reply.
Thanks for the quick reply!!