Lead and Housing: Homes built before 1980

Here we complete our examination of  the percent of housing built before 1980 in the 7-county SEMCOG region. The intent is again to shed light on the potential for lead poisoning as lead was banned from house paint after 1978.

The overall percentages across the seven counties include:

 

•Livingston 42.2%
•Macomb: 62.1% 
•Monroe: 61.8%
•Oakland: 64.0% 
•St. Clair: 61.8% 
•Washtenaw: 59.3%
•Wayne 84.4%
•Livingston County had the lowest percent of homes built before 1980 of the seven-county region with 42.2 percent, according to the American Community Survey. The overall percentage of homes built before 1980 in Monroe, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties was more in line with the overall Macomb and Oakland county percentages.

 Overall, there is about a 42.2 percent difference between the percent of homes built before 1980 in Livingston (42.2%) and Wayne (84.4%) counties. 

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In both Washtenaw and St. Clair counties nearly all the municipalities had between 42.1 and 63 percent of the homes built before 1980 up through 2011.  In Washtenaw County only Ann Arbor had a percentage of homes built before 1980 that put it in the highest bracket ( 84.1-100 percent). The only municipality in the same bracket in St. Clair County is Port Huron. In Monroe County, where majority of the municipalities are in the 63.1 to 84 percent bracket, only the City of Monroe has a percentage of homes built before 1980 in the highest bracket. Livingston County has no municipalities where between 84.1 and 100 percent of the homes were built before 1980.

In general the percentage of housing built before 1980 is rather substantial, indicating a fairly high risk for lead poisoning from lead-based paint even in the out-counties of the region. The significance of this is that it implies there will be a long term necessity for careful surveillance of young children’s blood lead levels and an equally strong need to maintain code enforcement relative to older dwellings lest lead based paint deteriorates and triggers more childhood lead poisoning cases. 

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Finally, here is a comparison of housing age in the region compared to the state and the nation. In the above chart the percent of homes built before 1980 is shown for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan region, along with the state and national percentages. As can be seen, Wayne County has the highest percentage at 88.4 and the state of Michigan comes in second at 67.2 percent. The percent of homes built before 1980 in the U.S. is 57.5%; Livingston County has the lowest percent of homes built before 1980 at 42.2.   By this measure Wayne County’s and Detroit’s housing is very old compared to the state or nation, which would not mean as much if the housing were well maintained. However, because job losses and wage cuts have reduced incomes, the amount of disposable income for housing maintenance is much reduced. Therefore there are likely increasing health and safety risks not only from lead paint, but from other housing repair issues as well.   

 

 

 

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