The Variety of Building Construction Types in US States

State Similarity Index - Infrastructure Category - Building Construction

The State Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar US states are to each other. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on infrastructure. 10% of a state’s infrastructure score (2% of the overall State Similarity Index score) is allocated for the types of buildings constructed in the state. The following paragraphs explain which aspects were used in the calculation.

House Age

The Northeast region in the US has some of the oldest homes in the country, which is not surprising given that it was one of the first areas of the country to be settled. New York has the highest median house age in the country at 1956. The Southwest region, particularly Arizona and Nevada, tend to have the newest homes as they have experienced significant growth in recent years. This is due to the fact that these states have a lower cost of living, warmer climate, and favorable tax policies. The typical home in these states was built around 1990.

American Community Survey

States were categorized by the median year their houses were built:
1955-1961, 1962-1968, 1969-1975, 1976-1981, 1982-1987, 1988-1993

Mobile Homes

Mobile homes are factory-built houses that could be moved from one location to another if needed. They are generally less expensive than traditional homes. The Southeast region of the United States tends to have a greater concentration of mobile homes than the rest of the country. North Carolina and South Carolina are the two states with the highest percentage of housing units that are mobile homes at over 16%. Hawaii has the lowest percentage. Just 0.2% of housing units are mobile there. Since Hawaii’s land value is so high, developers would rather invest in more luxurious accommodations.

American Community Survey

States were categorized by percentage of housing units that are mobile homes:
0-3.25, 3.25-6.5, 6.5-9.75, 9.75-13, 13-16.25, 16.25-19.5

Single Family Homes

Unlike most countries, most people in the United States live in single family homes. They are typically detached houses that stand on their own piece of land and are not connected to any other buildings. States in the Midwest typically have a higher percentage of people that live in single family homes. Land tends to be relatively inexpensive in these states. Nearly 74% of people live in single family homes in Iowa. New York is the only state with less than 50% of its people living in single family homes, since a high percentage of its population lives in New York City.

American Community Survey

States were categorized by the percentage of people living in single family homes:
42-49, 49-56, 56-63, 64-67, 68-71, 72-75


Some states have far more skyscrapers than others. Many rural states do not even have a skyscraper. Vermont‘s tallest building is the shortest of any state. It is a 124-ft tall residential apartment building that is just 11 stories. In contrast, New York, another state in the Northeast region, has the tallest building in the country. The One World Trade Center is 1,776-ft tall and has 104 floors. New York, Illinois, and Nevada have the highest percentage of their urban land with skyscrapers, since New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas have many skyscrapers.


States were categorized by the amount of urban land per skyscraper:
0-100, 100-250, 250-500, 500+
Additional categorizes:
No Skyscrapers, No Skyscrapers or High Rises

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