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Old 03-28-2017, 10:41 AM
nei nei started this thread 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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I live in Massachusetts, which has among the oldest housing stock in the country (as measured by % of housing from before 1940). I assumed that was because Massachusetts has had relatively slow growth since 1940. But I noticed Missouri has had a similar population to Massachusetts since 1940. Did Missouri destroy more of its old homes? Checked some data to compare states and a few counties.

The amount of housing from before 1940 that remain today varies a lot by state. The south is much lower than the rest of the country, perhaps because it was poorer. New England is on the high side, with Massachusetts and Rhode Island the highest in the country. I was shocked at the south numbers; did they light their homes on fire?!

79% of old homes [pre-1940] in Massachusetts remain today
55% for California
34% for Missouri
24% for Tennessee
11% for Mississippi

this includes rural areas of course. Boston (Suffolk County, MA) was lower than the state average (71%). But some of the old homes torn down could be from redevelopment that has little to do with them being the worst homes. The Bay Area in California preserved more of its older homes than Southern California, which isn't too surprising. San Francisco was 82%; could be among the highest in the country for a city. For Missouri, obviously, St. Louis tore down a lot of its old homes, but that's only a small part of the state. Downloaded county-level data for the whole US to make a map. Map below is: % of homes around in 1940 that still exist by county. The % numbers is = # of pre-1940 existing today (ACS 2015 5-year) / # housing units in 1940 (Decinnial Census).



zoomed into the Northeast and Midwest

Spoiler


The most "northern" parts of the country stand out as perserving their old housing stock. Either the culture valued keeping and maintatining what was around rather than tearing down or existing housing quality was much better. Counties with big cities, usually have lower numbers, probably from urban renewal or decay. Or, in the case of urban growth, removal of less dense housing for denser housing. For example, only 65% of Queens housing remained even though the borough had nearly no decay. Adjacent Nassau was around 80%; in general suburban counties are fairly high. Wayne, with Detroit, had among the lowest numbers of any norhtern county; with only 31% of pre-1940 homes remaining.

The high old home destruction in Missouri isn't limited to the big cities; the rural areas lost a lot of homes. I know the south and lower Midwest was still rather rural in 1940, perhaps some homes were abandonded as people moved from countryside to suburbs? Below is a separate map of housing unit number growth from 1940.



zoomed into the Northeast

Spoiler



You can see southern Missouri and Tenneesse have many more housing units today than then. So those counties were demolishing old housing stock while building lots of new housing. In contrast, New England added new housing while leaving its old housing intact. Some counties in Iowa barely have more housing units now then in 1940. But they torn down much of their old homes (about only 35% of old homes remains). In contrast, some New England counties have 2-3 times as many housing units now as in 1940. But they kept about 80% of their old homes. The % of homes today that are pre-1940 might be similar in both places, but very different causes.

The black belt stands out for having keeping little of its old housing while not growing very much. The Corn Belt also had sluggish growth but didn't keep much of its housing. So, do the low housing preservation numbers surprise you? For those old enough, can you remember some old homes being demolished? Or being obviously substandard?

Some numbers for urban counties / independent cities:

Spoiler
Suffolk County, MA [Boston]: 72%
Providence County, RI: 67%
Manhattan: 61%
Brooklyn: 68%
Bronx: 52%
Queens: 65%*

*Queens had less urban renewal / decay than other boroughs, but it grew by a lot so a lot was lost demolishing single-family homes with denser housing

Philadelphia: 50%
Baltimore City: 58%
Washington DC; 59%

Expected Baltimore to be much lower than Philadelphia and DC

Cuyahoga County, Ohio [Cleveland + suburbs]: 54%
Wayne County, Michigan [Detroit]: 31%
St. Louis City, Missouri: 39%

given Wayne County includes suburbs not just the city, Detroit is exceptionally low. St. Louis City has had about 60% population loss but still higher than Wayne County.
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,320 posts, read 2,744,944 times
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I have an old Victorian here in Phila. The trend here, probably the same as elsewhere, is to buy an old house and blow out everything but the shell. This practice is abetted by the city council which gave a 10 year tax abatement to new housing or a rehab that was over 50% new, so there is no incentive for developers to save anything. This would have happened to my house but I moved into the area before all the new constructions and rehabs began, it was a rough neighborhood. This is a photo I took years ago of the tilework in the entrance of the house. It's hard to estimate how much damage city council has done to historic properties through the abatement.



I remember years ago the president of the Philadelphia Historical Commission, Wayne Spilove, who also happened to be a developer, bought and demolished a row of Victorian retail stores so that he could demolish them to build a parking garage across the street from a parking garage. He demolished them and then was unable to build his dream garage, though one was eventually built. Sansom St. has since seen a revival of small shops and restaurants, and those little shops would have contributed greatly to the look and feeling of the street. Mr. Spilove was given an award by the city for his contributions to historic preservation. Here are the buildings he tore down.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8235/2...ccd4f656a0.jpg

Back in 1992 I lived on Chestnut St. next to a block of buildings that would have fit perfectly in Disneyland's "Main Street". They were "protected" by historical designation, but Jefferson Hospital had been after that block for years for a...ta dah!...parking garage. I don't know who they bought or what strings they pulled, but they eventually got their wish. This is what they tore down.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5303/5...f90916a3_z.jpg

This is what they put up.

https://s3-media2.fl.yelpcdn.com/bph...VoLGwXA/ls.jpg

Last edited by JMT; 03-31-2017 at 03:56 AM..
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Old 03-30-2017, 11:36 PM
 
11,456 posts, read 6,571,690 times
Reputation: 6091
I live on Long Island, NY and my house was built in 1935, and my last house was built in 1920.

I would guess that construction tends to be newer outside of the Northeast either because it took longer for the land to be developed in the first place, or because it wasn't constructed very well and didn't stand the test of time.

It's funny reading CD posts where people think an apartment that's 40 years old is old, meanwhile that would be quite new for NYC standards.

I personally love the old school brick buildings in NYC, especially the tenements you see in the East Village and Lower East Side. They're iconic in my opinion and have a lot of character.

For example:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Pi...829113!6m1!1e1
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Old 03-31-2017, 07:54 AM
 
Location: On the Great South Bay
7,129 posts, read 9,899,963 times
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To Nei, the OP.

Are you saying that only 11% of Mississippi's pre WW2 housing stock remains? If so, that is indeed a shocking statistic, especially because Mississippi does not see tear down redevelopment pressures that more populated areas receive.

I hate to say this but the only reason I can think of that Mississippi must have had a lot of really old substandard housing like shacks or cabins or something that people abandoned when they could.
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:58 AM
 
1,185 posts, read 874,086 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LINative View Post
To Nei, the OP.

Are you saying that only 11% of Mississippi's pre WW2 housing stock remains? If so, that is indeed a shocking statistic, especially because Mississippi does not see tear down redevelopment pressures that more populated areas receive.

I hate to say this but the only reason I can think of that Mississippi must have had a lot of really old substandard housing like shacks or cabins or something that people abandoned when they could.
That would be my guess. Probably a lot of shacks that sharecroppers were living in with their family. No electricity, no running water, and no reason for the family not to replace it with something nicer when they had the means.
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Old 03-31-2017, 12:01 PM
 
11,456 posts, read 6,571,690 times
Reputation: 6091
Quote:
Originally Posted by LINative View Post
To Nei, the OP.

Are you saying that only 11% of Mississippi's pre WW2 housing stock remains? If so, that is indeed a shocking statistic, especially because Mississippi does not see tear down redevelopment pressures that more populated areas receive.

I hate to say this but the only reason I can think of that Mississippi must have had a lot of really old substandard housing like shacks or cabins or something that people abandoned when they could.
That's exactly the reason I'm sure.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:26 PM
nei nei started this thread nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,929,314 times
Reputation: 14804
Quote:
Originally Posted by LINative View Post
To Nei, the OP.

Are you saying that only 11% of Mississippi's pre WW2 housing stock remains? If so, that is indeed a shocking statistic, especially because Mississippi does not see tear down redevelopment pressures that more populated areas receive.

I hate to say this but the only reason I can think of that Mississippi must have had a lot of really old substandard housing like shacks or cabins or something that people abandoned when they could.
Yes, that's what my numbers found. I was rather shocked, too. I assumed a lot of rural housing is upgradeable at least. I didn't expect a north-south gap to be that high, nor the lowest surviving old housing rate to be rural-ish regions rather than declining urban areas. I was hoping for some older southerners to post to give some more detail.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:29 PM
nei nei started this thread nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,929,314 times
Reputation: 14804
Quote:
Originally Posted by l1995 View Post
I live on Long Island, NY and my house was built in 1935, and my last house was built in 1920.
I grew up on Long Island, too! Not many pre-war homes in my neighborhood, though a few miles by the water there were plenty. Both houses I lived in were 50s homes, I assumed that was "normal" age-wise, not old nor new.

Quote:
It's funny reading CD posts where people think an apartment that's 40 years old is old, meanwhile that would be quite new for NYC standards.
same here

Quote:
I personally love the old school brick buildings in NYC, especially the tenements you see in the East Village and Lower East Side. They're iconic in my opinion and have a lot of character.
Ye olde tenement! they do have character, though weird cramped layouts inside.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Olympia, Washington
1,259 posts, read 697,703 times
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When I lived in NYC every place I lived in was older from the around the early 20th century. The newest place I lived in was from the early 1960's. Where I live now all the apartments seem fairly new for the most part...built within the last 20 years. I'm glad to get away from those old houses because it felt like there was always problems and things would break down often.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:52 PM
 
Location: West Tennessee
2,081 posts, read 2,897,764 times
Reputation: 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I live in Massachusetts, which has among the oldest housing stock in the country (as measured by % of housing from before 1940). I assumed that was because Massachusetts has had relatively slow growth since 1940. But I noticed Missouri has had a similar population to Massachusetts since 1940. Did Missouri destroy more of its old homes? Checked some data to compare states and a few counties.

The amount of housing from before 1940 that remain today varies a lot by state. The south is much lower than the rest of the country, perhaps because it was poorer. New England is on the high side, with Massachusetts and Rhode Island the highest in the country. I was shocked at the south numbers; did they light their homes on fire?!

79% of old homes [pre-1940] in Massachusetts remain today
55% for California
34% for Missouri
24% for Tennessee
11% for Mississippi

this includes rural areas of course. Boston (Suffolk County, MA) was lower than the state average (71%). But some of the old homes torn down could be from redevelopment that has little to do with them being the worst homes. The Bay Area in California preserved more of its older homes than Southern California, which isn't too surprising. San Francisco was 82%; could be among the highest in the country for a city. For Missouri, obviously, St. Louis tore down a lot of its old homes, but that's only a small part of the state. Downloaded county-level data for the whole US to make a map. Map below is: % of homes around in 1940 that still exist by county. The % numbers is = # of pre-1940 existing today (ACS 2015 5-year) / # housing units in 1940 (Decinnial Census).



zoomed into the Northeast and Midwest

Spoiler


The most "northern" parts of the country stand out as perserving their old housing stock. Either the culture valued keeping and maintatining what was around rather than tearing down or existing housing quality was much better. Counties with big cities, usually have lower numbers, probably from urban renewal or decay. Or, in the case of urban growth, removal of less dense housing for denser housing. For example, only 65% of Queens housing remained even though the borough had nearly no decay. Adjacent Nassau was around 80%; in general suburban counties are fairly high. Wayne, with Detroit, had among the lowest numbers of any norhtern county; with only 31% of pre-1940 homes remaining.

The high old home destruction in Missouri isn't limited to the big cities; the rural areas lost a lot of homes. I know the south and lower Midwest was still rather rural in 1940, perhaps some homes were abandonded as people moved from countryside to suburbs? Below is a separate map of housing unit number growth from 1940.



zoomed into the Northeast

Spoiler



You can see southern Missouri and Tenneesse have many more housing units today than then. So those counties were demolishing old housing stock while building lots of new housing. In contrast, New England added new housing while leaving its old housing intact. Some counties in Iowa barely have more housing units now then in 1940. But they torn down much of their old homes (about only 35% of old homes remains). In contrast, some New England counties have 2-3 times as many housing units now as in 1940. But they kept about 80% of their old homes. The % of homes today that are pre-1940 might be similar in both places, but very different causes.

The black belt stands out for having keeping little of its old housing while not growing very much. The Corn Belt also had sluggish growth but didn't keep much of its housing. So, do the low housing preservation numbers surprise you? For those old enough, can you remember some old homes being demolished? Or being obviously substandard?

Some numbers for urban counties / independent cities:

Spoiler
Suffolk County, MA [Boston]: 72%
Providence County, RI: 67%
Manhattan: 61%
Brooklyn: 68%
Bronx: 52%
Queens: 65%*

*Queens had less urban renewal / decay than other boroughs, but it grew by a lot so a lot was lost demolishing single-family homes with denser housing

Philadelphia: 50%
Baltimore City: 58%
Washington DC; 59%

Expected Baltimore to be much lower than Philadelphia and DC

Cuyahoga County, Ohio [Cleveland + suburbs]: 54%
Wayne County, Michigan [Detroit]: 31%
St. Louis City, Missouri: 39%

given Wayne County includes suburbs not just the city, Detroit is exceptionally low. St. Louis City has had about 60% population loss but still higher than Wayne County.
This is a cool thread.

I grew up in Southern MO in one of the few counties that is actually halfway prosperous. The population of the county has more than doubled since 1940 so it is one of the darker shades of the last map.

I will say though that there are some people that still live in some pretty rough housing that pre-dates 1940. Also, quite a few people have built newer houses but left the old cabins & shacks on their land due to sentimental value.

So does the map only include occupied housing? I am just curious. There seems to be a decent number of pre-1940 housing in my home county, but most of those houses aren't occupied anymore.

I also wonder if there were regional differences with # of people in one household back in 1940. A more agricultural area probably had higher numbers in a house. That factor has pretty well gone away.

I see the same kinds of things in West Tennessee, although to a greater amount. There is some pre-1940 unoccupied housing. (And probably unlivable too)
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