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How American Homes Vary By the Year They Were Built

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Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2011-18


More than four in ten (44%) of the nation’s housing stock was built before 1970, and the characteristics of these homes vary considerably by the year they were built. While it is commonly known that the general size of homes has increased over time, there have been other changes. These changes include increases in certain types of rooms, the types of equipment and amenities that have become standard over time, types of amenities available in the neighborhood or community, and in the types of safety equipment that are increasingly included in new homes. These conclusions are based on an analysis of data on homes in the 2009 American Housing Survey (AHS), which is a nationwide survey of housing units, and is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Department of Housing and Urban Development every two years. The analysis includes all the different types of homes in which we live and focuses on the characteristics of these homes based on the year the home was originally built.

It should be noted that current residents of these homes report the size and other characteristics of the home; and in the case of older homes, some of the home characteristics, such as size of the home, number and types of rooms, equipment, and amenities may have been more recent additions or installations and did not come with the home when it was originally built.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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