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Old 01-16-2015, 11:05 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Iowa is a surprise. I assume it didn't grow that fast in the last 60 years, though it might have a gain from a rural -> urban transition.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:10 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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This site has some data on pre-1920 housing:

How old are America's houses? | Old House Web

If you go the American Housing Census they have breakdowns by metro for pre-1920. Seems like Boston and NYC by lead on per capita, as well as some smaller New England and upstate New York cities. Here's what I found from that site a while back:

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Let's go older. I dug into some census data. Here's 1919 or earlier for some selected cities:

34.7% — Boston
25.7% — Pittsburgh
22.8% — Philadelphia
21.4% — St. Louis
18.3% — New York
15.9% — Chicago

By metro:

24.5% — Boston
16.9% — Providence, RI
14.3% — New York
13.7% — Pittsburgh
12.5% — Philadelphia
8.2% — Chicago
7.6% — St. Louis

for comparison purposes, London, UK [Greater London municipality, but contains about 2/3rds of the metro depending on definition] has 26% of housing from 1919 and earlier.
Buffalo would be 19.7% by metro, Rochester similar.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2e1m5a View Post
Very interesting-the Philly and NYC regions appear very similar while DC and Boston regions are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

It may be worth noting that the NYC and Philadelphia regions had some of the first "suburbs" how we know them today in the country-the Levittowns.
In the vein of that "Transitioning into the Northeast" thread that got locked, perhaps this is one way of thinking about it.

South/Sunbelt (NC, SC, GA, FL): Newer core cities, new suburbs
Lower Mid-Atlantic (VA, MD, DE): Old core cities, newer suburbs
Upper Mid Atlantic (PA, NJ, NY): Old core cities, older suburbs
New England (CT, MA, RI, VT, NH, ME): Old cities, old suburbs
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Here's Pre-1940 data for all 50 states. The average across the United States is 13.1%.
You're missing Mississippi.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
You're missing Mississippi.
Fixed it. Thank you. I feel bad for forgetting about Mississippi. I feel like they're always forgotten about.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
In the vein of that "Transitioning into the Northeast" thread that got locked, perhaps this is one way of thinking about it.

South/Sunbelt (NC, SC, GA, FL): Newer core cities, new suburbs
Lower Mid-Atlantic (VA, MD, DE): Old core cities, newer suburbs
Upper Mid Atlantic (PA, NJ, NY): Old core cities, older suburbs
New England (CT, MA, RI, VT, NH, ME): Old cities, old suburbs
New England has two things which make for very old cities and suburbs.

One was the New England model of settlement. In the South, farmers lived on the land they worked, and made periodic trips to a "town" which was little more than a trading post when they had needs. In the Midlands, it was much the same, but the old colonial towns were denser because there was more proto-industry. In New England, however, you were supposed to live "in town" near the church and town hall (as you were supposed to participate in Town Meeting), and commuted to your fields in an outlying area to get business done. When Yankees founded new settlements, they tended to migrate as a whole community, not as isolated families as well. These old cores stood the test of time - indeed, the underlying structure of the old New England towns is clear even when the actual number of buildings is much diminished.

The second aspect reason New England suburbs are so old is very tight city limits. With the exception of Boston and Providence, no New England cities expanded to be significantly larger (in terms of square miles) than a typical New England town. New England had some of the earliest organized opposition to annexation as well (Brookline voting against joining Boston in the 1870s). As a result areas which would elsewhere in the country become part of the core city stayed independent suburbs. The extreme example of this is the Boston metro, where the northern half of what we'd consider to be an unquestionably urban area is mostly not in Boston at all.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Iowa is a surprise. I assume it didn't grow that fast in the last 60 years, though it might have a gain from a rural -> urban transition.
I was more surprised by Delaware. Being such a small state, I thought Wilmington would boost the overall average (43.1% of houses were built prior to 1940). Apparently, Wilmington accounts for a much smaller percentage of Delaware's housing stock than I thought.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
One was the New England model of settlement. In the South, farmers lived on the land they worked, and made periodic trips to a "town" which was little more than a trading post when they had needs. In the Midlands, it was much the same, but the old colonial towns were denser because there was more proto-industry. In New England, however, you were supposed to live "in town" near the church and town hall (as you were supposed to participate in Town Meeting), and commuted to your fields in an outlying area to get business done. When Yankees founded new settlements, they tended to migrate as a whole community, not as isolated families as well. These old cores stood the test of time - indeed, the underlying structure of the old New England towns is clear even when the actual number of buildings is much diminished.
Digby Baltzell talks about this in Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia.

Quote:
Massachusetts built towns from the beginning. Pennsylvania relied more on the isolated family farm.
Puritan Boston, Quaker Philadelphia: notes on 1979 research from E. Digby Baltzell • Christopher Wink

Perhaps that's one reason why the housing stock seems to be older along routes followed by the Yankee migration out of New England.

ROOTS AND ROUTES
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Perhaps that's one reason why the housing stock seems to be older along routes followed by the Yankee migration out of New England.
It needs to be noted that Yankees just built better housing stock in general. Maybe not than the Mid-Atlantic (a good brick or stone house can go 50 years without maintenance, while frame needs upkeep every 10 years), but much better than in the South, where there really wasn't much of anything between plantation mansions and shotgun houses before the streetcar suburban era in most areas.

I've also noticed that "house pride" is much higher in New England in general. People are much more loathe to take down wood cladding for siding unless it's a rental (or the siding is really high quality and you can't tell the difference). And you'll basically never see people do things like tear off porches, remove ornamental trim, or resize/remove windows, which is endemic around here. The less remuddled old historic housing is, the more likely future owners of the property aren't just going to tear it down for something else in the future.
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
New Hampshire stands out as rather new. Boston exurbs?
I think some of what you're seeing is that NH is fairly unique among New England states in that it experienced significant growth over the last few decades, at least as a percent (which is what is relevant if we're talking about median construction age).

Between 1970-2010 the U.S. Population grew by about 50%. Here's roughly how the New England states rate over that period of time:

RI: 12%
CT: 16%
MA: 16%
New England Average: 22% [edited to add]
ME: 32%
VT: 41%
US average: 50%
NH: 78% (737k to 1.3M)

Relative population growth doesn't explain all of what's happening, but it's a pretty significant factor. And NH is a state that's grown a lot, which is fairly rare in the northeast and rust belt. Growth generally brings new housing, especially in a state that still had some buildable land available to develop.
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