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Address Type

Variable Definitions:

Commercial Address Share: The percentage of mailing addresses that are used for business purposes, such as retail spaces, office buildings, warehouses and industrial sites

Residential Address Share: The percentage of mailing addresses that are used for living purposes for individuals and/or families

Note: The USPS defines addresses as either residential, commercial, or other. The “other” classification includes places that are neither residential nor commercial, such as educational institutions or government facilities.

Commercial “No One Home” Properties: The number of commercial properties that have not collected their mail for 6 months or longer

Residential “No One Home” Properties: The number of residential properties that are  have not collected their mail for 6 months or longer

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Aggregated United States Postal Service (USPS) Administrative Data on Vacant Properties

Years Available:
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Why are these variables important to measure?

Vacant Properties
Under an agreement between United States Postal Service (USPS) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), USPS shares quarterly data on addresses identified as “vacant.” The addresses reflects residential and commercial that USPS has recorded in their database. Vacant addresses have been identified as being vacant (not collecting their mail) for 90 days or longer. 

Hyper-vacancy is described as neighborhoods in which 20 percent or more of the buildings and lots are vacant. Vacant properties are often concentrated in areas that are experiencing losses in jobs, investment and economic opportunities. Further, vacant or abandoned properties are costly to cities as a result of decreased tax revenue and increased crime and maintenance costs. Vacant properties also contribute to general blight which has a negative effect on property values. A Philadelphia study found that vacant properties reduced household wealth due to blight by an aggregate $3.6 billion. 

The vacant indicator is useful for researchers and practitioners exploring population growth, development patterns, rent evictions or gentrification trends. 

“Blight and vacant land are a national crisis for smaller cities”. Patrick Sisson. Curbed. 2019. Link

“HUD aggregate USPS administrative data on address vacancies”. United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Link

“The Empty House Next Door”. Alan Mallach. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. 2018. Link.

“Vacant land management in Philadelphia: the cost of the current system and need for reform”. Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations. 2010. Link

“Vacant and unoccupied homeowners insurance”. Pat Howard. Policy Genius. 2018. Link.

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