Federal housing policy in the US across the postwar period supported the construction of new houses more than public provision or renovation of older structures as a means of ensuring a sufficient supply of quality dwellings. Understanding trends in new housing in particular is thus crucial to understanding the housing regime. Following Myers (Housing demography: Linking demographic structure and housing markets. University of Wisconsin Press, 1990; Housing Studies, 14, 473–490,1999), this paper conceptualizes historical change in the housing stock within a demographic framework as the movement of cohorts of households through cohorts of housing stock. Recent evidence suggests that a new cohort of houses arose in the 1980s and 1990s (larger with more amenities than past vintages), and that buyers of those new houses were increasingly affluent. In this paper, I link the succession to a new cohort of houses to household cohort succession and examine the increasing affluence of new house buyers by age and cohort, focusing especially on the entry of the Baby Boom generation exactly when the new cohort of houses arrived. I use US Census microdata for 1960–2000 to develop a cohort longitudinal dataset, and analyze historical change in stratification in new house ownership. I find significant shifts between cohorts in income inequality among new house buyers, with implications for the capacity of the housing regime to meet the future needs of an increasingly diverse population.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 3, 2008
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