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HUD Aggregated USPS Administrative Data On Address Vacancies

USPS aanouncement box USPS Vacancy Data is now available at the 2010 Census Tract geographic level. After the 4th quarter of 2012, HUD will no longer be tabulating the USPS Vacancy Data at the 2000 Census tract level.

HUD has entered into an agreement with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to receive quarterly aggregate data on addresses identified by the USPS as having been "vacant" or "No-Stat" in the previous quarter. HUD is making these data available for researchers and practitioners to explore their potential utility for tracking neighborhood change on a quarterly basis. The potential power of these data is that they represent the universe of all addresses in the United States and are updated every three months. Under the current agreement with the USPS, HUD can make the data accessible only to governmental entities and non-profit organizations registered as users. Use of the data is permitted only for activities related to the "stated purpose" outlined in the sublicense agreement.

Data Description

Total Number of Addresses - This reflects all addresses (residential and commercial) that USPS has recorded in their database.

Total Vacant Addresses - These are addresses that delivery staff on urban routes have identified as being vacant (not collecting their mail) for 90 days or longer.

Total no-stat Addresses - There are many reasons an address can be classified as no-stat, including:

  • Rural Route addresses vacant for 90 days or longer

  • Addresses for businesses or homes under construction and not yet occupied

  • Addresses in urban areas identified by a carrier as not likely to be active for some time

In addition to the total counts noted above, the USPS is reporting to HUD for each quarter the number of days an address has been in each category (see data dictionary). Because USPS did not start counting days in each category until after entering into this agreement with HUD, the starting point for counting days in each category is November 18, 2005. So, for example, our December 2005 extract shows no addresses being on the vacant list for longer than three months because we had only been counting for just over a month. We will not know about addresses on the vacant list for longer than three years until the December 2008 extract.

While HUD is still exploring the utility of these data, it has identified the following items that may be of use to other researchers and practitioners:

  • Vacation/Resort areas have very high rates of vacant addresses.

  • Areas with high growth have high rates of no-stat addresses as do areas of significant decline. One way to distinguish these two areas is by comparing Total Count of AMS Addresses between quarters. An increase in AMS addresses with a similar increase in no-stat addresses likely reflects new construction/additions. no-stats with a stable or reduced number of addresses probably reflect long-term vacant addresses.

  • In distressed areas, a reduction in total AMS addresses from quarter-to-quarter appears to be a strong indicator of where demolition is occurring. (Note that if a building is demolished to be replaced by another building, the address will likely be moved to no-stat status and not be removed from the total number of addresses).

Note to Users

In March 2010 USPS began implementation of new procedures to improve the accuracy of the vacant indicator. This changeover has led to an increase in vacancies across the nation, causing year-over-year vacancy comparisons and calculations spanning March 2010 to be problematic.

The new USPS application allows for delivery unit/carrier to answer yes or no (an address is either vacant or not) which then updates database automatically (nightly). Along with the application are data provided to the carrier from other data sources including the USPS Change of Address and USPS Address Change Service. Census 2000 mailings were also used as a "one time" source for the application. As of November 1, 2010, 4.2 million records had been updated.

This new application should improve data quality over time, but caution should be used in measuring change over time as the new procedures are fully implemented.


Related links

HUD USPS ZIP Code Crosswalk Files



Download Quarterly Data:

Note: USPS Vacancy Data is now available at the 2010 Census Tract geographic level. After the 4th quarter of 2012, HUD will no longer be tabulating the USPS Vacancy Data at the 2000 Census tract level.

*Data available up to June 2019.
*Due to delays associated with separating business and residential addresses, the fourth quarter data for 2007 are not available.

HUD is interested in what researchers and practitioners learn from using these data. Please send comments on your experience using this data set to USPSVacancydata@hud.gov.