Announcing New Postal Vacancy Data from Valassis Lists!

We are excited to announce a new vacancy data set on PolicyMap. Many of our users have lamented the datedness of our HUD/USPS vacancy data, which became available for approved nonprofit and government users only, beginning in 2010. Today, paid subscribers can use PolicyMap to access quarterly vacancy data for residential and business addresses.

Valassis ListsThis data is provided by Valassis Lists, a direct mail company that processes direct feeds from United States Postal Service databases. PolicyMap’s Valassis Lists data draws from a combination of USPS databases, and so we are able to provide no-stat counts and calculations based on the total number of active addresses for Quarter 3 of 2013 and later. Two years of historical data from June 2011 through June 2013 show counts of vacant addresses for residential and business addresses. The data is available at the block group level, and is also aggregated to tract, zip code, county, place, metro area, and state.

Direct mail data is exciting because it reflects conditions on the ground as they are– vacant addresses are recorded as such after 90 days of uncollected mail. The Greater New Orleans Data Center has used Valassis’ detailed address data at a smaller scale, to track neighborhood development after Katrina – be sure to check out their research for more information about postal data.

Current and accurate data is vital for neighborhood revitalization efforts, and vacancy data is often a key component. The map below shows the percent change in vacant addresses over the past year, highlighting the long-term impact of Hurricane Sandy on Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods. The census tracts shaded purple on the map are those where vacancy has increased the most from December 2012 to December 2013. In contrast to areas of central Brooklyn where residential vacancy has decreased sharply, coastal neighborhoods hit by the superstorm remain far behind in the race to catch up.

Change in Vacancy, Q4 2012 - Q4 2013
This vacancy data will now be updated quarterly on PolicyMap. Log in now or sign up for a 7-day free trial to access Valassis Lists data, in the Neighborhood Conditions tab. See our Data Directory for more information.