Some numbers tell a story. Others sketch a picture or draw a map.

That's the case with the American Housing Survey, which today released a portrait of the American housing stock, circa 2007, based on data collected by the U.S. Census every two years.

According to the survey, there are more than 128 million housing units in the country, which include rented apartments, seasonal cottages, suburban single-family houses, and manufactured homes.

The 642-page report contains a wealth of details and statistics about American housing stock and how the nation’s housing can differ based on location, whether units are rented homes or owner-occupied, the race of  the householder, and more.

According to the report's highlights, most of the United State’s 128 million homes, regardless of the type, contain three or more bedrooms (63.3 percent), a garage (65.3 percent), air conditioning (86.4 percent), and, in a question asked for the first time, a working smoke detector (92.4 percent).

American homes, be they apartments or single-family homes, are also located primarily in the suburbs, as builders might have suspected. More than one-third (36 percent) of American housing units are in urbanized suburbs of metropolitan areas; 11 percent fall in “rural” metropolitan suburbs. The country’s “central cities” claim 29 percent of the housing stock, while 13 percent are in rural areas. The remaining share (11 percent) belongs to nonmetropolitan “urban” areas such as cities and towns.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.