Age of Housing

The HCI measure for Age of Housing is the percent of neighborhood housing built before 1980. Older homes are more likely to be less energy efficient, have failing systems or components, asbestos, and lead-based paint, and are a strong proxy for housing condition or quality. Except in areas that have gentrified or are undergoing revitalization with significant housing rehabilitation, homes built before 1980 also tend to be a significant predictor of housing inadequacy (i.e., housing with moderate or severe housing hazards), which includes problems such as water leaks, roof problems, holes in walls, etc. These issues can lead to an increase in mold, mites, and other allergens associated with poor health. The age of a structure is also a significant predictor of higher household lead dust levels and cockroach allergens, which play an important role in the development and exacerbation of respiratory conditions. Listed in the Housing domain, age of housing also impacts economic health, health systems and public safety, and education. It is considered an “inverse” measure in that, the higher the proportion of older housing in a neighborhood, the higher the negative impact on community health. Data on when housing was built is available from the U.S. Census.

Neighborhoodsort descending Indicator Value Rank
Blackstone 91.6% 22
Charles 87.8% 16
College Hill 86.3% 14
Downtown 75.9% 4
Elmhurst 91.1% 21
Elmwood 83.8% 11
Federal Hill 82.8% 9
Fox Point 81.3% 7
Hartford 85.3% 13
Hope 90.8% 20
Lower South Providence 75.4% 2
Manton 75.7% 3
Mount Hope 88.6% 17
Mount Pleasant 89.0% 18
Olneyville 84.0% 12
Reservoir 95.6% 25
Silver Lake 86.6% 15
Smith Hill 78.9% 5
South Elmwood 93.9% 24
Upper South Providence 74.5% 1
Valley 83.0% 10
Wanskuck 80.7% 6
Washington Park 89.2% 19
Wayland 91.9% 23
West End 82.2% 8

Key Citations:
1. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Social Determinants of Health. Published 2011. Accessed December 27, 2013. Available at:
2. Elliott L, Arbes S, Harvey ES, Lee RC, Salo PM, Cohn RD, London SJ, Zeldin DC. Dust Weight and Asthma Prevalence in the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing (NSLAH). Environ Health Perspect. 2007; 115(2): 215–220. Published online 2006 November 7. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9412 PMCID: PMC1817708.
3. Cohn RD, Arbes SJ, Jaramillo R, Reid, LH, Zeldin, DC. 2006. National Prevalence and Exposure Risk for Cockroach Allergen in U.S. Households. Environ Health Perspect. 2006; 114(4): 522–526. Published online 2005 November 15. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8561.
4. Lefebvre S, Montgomery P, Michel I, Warren C, Larose T, Kauppi C. The role of public health inspectors in maintaining housing in northern and rural communities: recommendations to support public health practice. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2012 Mar-Apr;103(2):84-9.
5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthy Housing Reference Manual. 2006. Available at:
6. National Center for Healthy Housing. Housing Interventions and Health: A Review of the Evidence. 2009. Accessed December 27, 2012. Available at: