SOCDS Building Permits Database

This database contains data on permits for residential construction issued by about 21,000 jurisdictions collected in the Census Bureau's Building Permits Survey. You can create output tables at the State, County, CBSA or permit-issuing jurisdiction level.

Monthly data are available from January 1997 through the most recent reporting month for about 9,000 jurisdictions that respond to the monthly survey. The remaining jurisdictions report annual data only. Thus, annual figures will not necessarily match the monthly totals.

Please note that some county and independent city areas are not completely covered by permitting systems. Click here for a complete list of those counties and independent cities that are fully covered.

Final monthly data for any given calendar year is published in May of the following year. For that same calendar year, any data that is published prior to the final publication date is labeled as Preliminary in this application. Preliminary data issued in the current year is subject to subsequent monthly revision throughout it's given calendar year. Both preliminary and final monthly data may also include imputed values, created by the Census Bureau when actual jurisdictional permit activity is unavailable. Since County, State, and CBSA data are derived from aggregations of jurisdictional data, their totals may reflect a mix of both reported and imputed values, and thus are not identified as imputed values in their respective output tables.

Annual data are available from 1980 through the most recent reporting year, and may also contain imputed values.

** NOTE: Please exercise caution when comparing results from this website with those from the Census website. Data on the Census web site does not include concurrent year revisions to preliminary monthly data, nor does it reflect any of the revisions found in the Final monthly data. In a nutshell, Census displays only their originally published data while SOCDS data reflects all subsequent Census revisions.

This site is best viewed with your monitor set to a resolution of 1024x768 pixels and your browser's variable width font size set at 10 points, or at a monitor setting of 800x600 pixels and variable width font size of 8 points.

To retrieve data:

  1. On the left side of the page, select the desired "Geography" (the "sub-criteria" displayed in the upper right frame will adjust accordingly).

  2. Select the desired "Periodicity" (Note that the choice of years, as found in the lower left side of the right frame, will change according to their availability in the relevant monthly and annual datasets).

  3. In the upper right frame, select a State or CBSA. If you wish to select counties and/or permitting jurisdictions, click on the hyperlink below the State or CBSA listbox.

  4. Select individual jurisdictions or use the checkboxes to select State, County, or Metropolitan Area totals, County or Jurisdiction group sums, or all jurisdictions within the Counties or Metropolitan Areas you selected. For selected County or Jurisdiction group sums, you may optionally assign a group name, which will appear as the output table title.

  5. Select the desired years to include in your output (lower left side of the right frame).

  6. Select the series you wish to display in your output (lower right side of the right frame).

  7. Click the "Get Data" button (lower portion of left frame) to see your output. Data are provided initially in tabular form, but a button at the bottom of the output page enables you to access the same data in comma-delimited form. Note: Data may not be available for all jurisdictions for all years.

For high-volume data queries:

Click here to download the full database (Access 2000, updated annually).