In cooperation with HUD, the US Postal Service is now releasing quarterly data on vacant and undeliverable addresses by Census Tract. Where Buffalo and Erie County have been lacking a city-wide regularly updated primary data source on vacancy and abandonment rates, this data represents a powerful on-the-ground tool for tracking these trends at the neighborhood level.
This data does not represent structures, but separate mailing addresses. If there are two units in a house it would count as two addresses; if there are ten commercial offices in a single building, it would count as ten addresses. HUD has not yet been able to determine from its conversations with USPS how, if, or when PO Boxes are factored into this information.
The data that the USPS does collect represents chronic vacancy...read the rest...
A few attachments arrived with the email. Two data sets and two maps.
I've merged both data sets into two shared spreadsheets. The first data set - Buffalo USPS raw data 2006. The second set contains the equally disturbing trend data - Buffalo USPS trend data 2006. Here's the interpretive dictionary [.pdf] from HUD describing the various numbers.
A cursory analysis of this data reveals by the end of the first quarter of 2007 (Q1 2007) Buffalo had lost 1,692 deliverable addresses since Q1 2006, representing a decrease of 1.4% of the city’s total addresses. During that time, the total number of all addresses fell 527, from 137,292 to 136,765 for a decrease of .4%. After accounting for demolition activity, then, this translates to 1,162 more undeliverable addresses than last year at this time.
Do the math...100 addresses/month are disappearing from Buffalo. Even if all these addresses represent two-family houses, that's 10 houses/week that are vacated every week!
Last month, I posted - Ouch! - regarding population loss here in Buffalo, NY. One of criticisms involved in using census data is that some people claim that it's not reliable and we should wait for the 2010 data to filter down. But, folks...the Post Office! These people know how to count...and the numbers are real...
Question of course remains why we are not adopting the best practices that are emerging in places like Youngstown, OH...
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