On the Limitations—and Unanswered Questions—of Housing Research
"Housing demographers are often frustrated by data that range from inconsistent to totally unavailable when attempting to research demographic and housing trends. The inconsistencies between various data sources on estimates of household numbers and household growth, vacancy rates, and homeownership rates are well documented and continue to be dissected and discussed, but there are other metrics that have been even more elusive to pin down that would help enormously to better understand today’s demographic/economic trends and their housing implications," according to a post by George Masnick for the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Masnick notes two "broad areas" of housing consumption that have proven particularly obstinate in resisting quantification: "The first concerns the doubling up of generations living in a single residence. The second is the opposite – when a single household lives in more than one housing unit on a regular basis."
The article goes on to detail more about the many avenues of research available if better data available were available in these areas. Also mentioned are the limitations of the current study mechanisms that begin to scratch the surface of the important questions still out of the reach of researchers.