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Age of Housing
The Age of Housing indicator measures the proportion of neighborhood housing built before 1980. Tenured housing, before 1980, is more likely to be less energy efficient, and have environmental toxins such as asbestos and lead-based paint. 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. This can increase exposure to mold, mites, and other allergens. 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. Studies show that while more institutional factors, such as segregation and income inequalities are difficult to combat, housing interventions can be a more effective and efficient method to address health and economic outcomes. Listed in the Housing domain, the Age of Housing indicator also impacts the Economic Health, Health Systems and Public Safety, and Educational Opportunities domains. 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.