Architectural damage to residential structures caused by seismic disturbances was examined to determine meaningful ground-motion damage criteria. Motion records were analyzed to give a response spectrum of building motions. Widely varying amounts of damage resulting from similar peak-particle velocities are explained by the building response envelope which combines the amplitude, duration, and frequency content of the ground motion. A correlation between existing damage and the absolute acceleration values is developed and a comparatively safe amplitude region is shown. A plot of damage complaints versus the pseudo absolute acceleration is presented as an effective damage prediction criterion.