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Different Regions, Differences in Energy Consumption: Do regions account for the variability in household energy consumption?

Li X. Wang

September 2013 CSSS Working Paper #134



This research aims to discover between-region variability in household energy consumption behaviors,using multilevel modeling with data from Residential Energy Consumption Survey in 2009. Where past research focuses on the physical characteristics of housing, our effort in this research centers on between-region variability and micro-level determinants of residential energy usage. We found significant between-region variability with household energy usage across the U.S. Results suggest that the association between heating degree days and energy consumption varies depending on the type of climate that a household lives in. Further, household energy usage is significantly associated with the race of the householder and income. In the discussion section, we connect this outcome to racial disparities between whites and non-whites in location choice, access to housing, and residential stratification. Moreover, the structure of our research reveals the necessity of multilevel modeling in gaining an accurate picture of residential energy consumption for more efficient energy conservation policy.

Keywords: Energy Consumption, Residential Sector, Multilevel Modeling, Racial Disparities, Housing Choice