Housing Inventory

Description of the Elm Street Neighborhoods in Lewisburg in Context

August 2013

Compiled by Jesse Lewis, Bloomsburg University Planning Intern

 

Lewisburg is a small borough in north-central Pennsylvania. It is a quaint, historic community abutting the campus of Bucknell University. The borough, which does not include the university, is broken into four “wards” or voting districts that are primarily used for administrative and political boundary purposes. In addition to those legal divisions, the borough has designated two neighborhoods independent of the ward boundaries:  the Bull Run Neighborhood and the North Ward Neighborhood. Bull Run, named for the creek running through it, is part of the state-run Elm Street Program (a neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation program that was derived from the Main Street Program).  The North Ward Neighborhood is in the preliminary stages of considering whether to pursue an Elm Street community designation. The following is a spatial and demographic comparison of the borough and the North Ward Neighborhood, with some reference to the Bull Run Neighborhood as well.

The borough of Lewisburg has a total population of 5,792, according to the 2010 census, gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau. This total has increased 3% in the decade since 2000, when Lewisburg had a population of 5,620. Preliminary demographic data has recently been collected for the North Ward neighborhood. This data is more detailed for the 2000 census, with only total population and total housing units being available for the 2010 census. These records (2010 demographics) are available for the entire borough via the Census Bureau’s American Factfinder website, but are not yet available for download into a GIS program, which would allow for the extraction of specific areas or neighborhoods.

The North Ward neighborhood has a total area of .35 square miles or 224 acres, compared to 1 square mile or approximately 640 acres of land in the entire borough.  This indicates the North Ward to be approximately one third of the size of the entire borough.  The North Ward neighborhood had a total population in 2010 of 1,052 and in 2000 a total of 982, a 7% increase which is higher than but still roughly consistent with the entire borough’s increase throughout the decade. Similarly, the housing unit totals in the neighborhood increased by 10% during that decade from 550 in 2000 to 609 in 2010. This would appear to indicate that there are more, smaller households within the neighborhood as compared to 10 years ago.  Only 18% of the total borough population lives in this third of its area, largely a reflection of the extensive parks within the neighborhood boundaries.

When looking at renter occupancy, in 2000 the North Ward neighborhood had 342 of the total 550 housing units listed as renter-occupied, which is roughly 62%, and the owner occupied was 175 or 32%.  The balance of approximately 5% are vacancies, which appear to have held steady.  In comparison, the entire borough had renter occupancy of 1,236 units per the total 1,991 units, or approximately 62%, and a fractionally lower vacancy rate in combination with a fractionally higher owner-occupancy rate. Factoring in the fact that the Bull Run neighborhood in contrast had a renter-occupancy of approximately 85% as of 2005, as a result of the high number of student rentals in that particular neighborhood, one can see that the balance of the borough must have a significantly lower rental occupancy rate than either Bull Run or North Ward. The bulk of this data is, as stated previously, is from the 2000 census, which has potentially changed in the last decade, but the change does not appear to be drastic – though impending changes to the off-campus housing policy for the university are expected to have a dramatic effect on the Bull Run Neighborhood numbers over the coming several years.

Lastly, the portion of the total population in the North Ward ages 40 and up accounted for 475 out of the total 982 in 2000. This means approximately 48% (almost half) of the population in the neighborhood is adult aged 40 years or older, with 186 or 40% of those (19% of the total neighborhood population) being 65 years of age or older. As for the borough as a whole, 1,802 of the total 5,620 population were older than 40 years of age, meaning approximately 32% were of that age and approximately 14% of the total were older than 65 years of age. These numbers are very similar to the North Ward neighborhood numbers, further showing the neighborhood to be consistent with the overall demographic patterns of the larger region.  Again in combination with the distinct demographic character of the Bull Run Neighborhood (much younger), it is clear that the North Ward Neighborhood is more like the Borough as a whole than the other parts of the Borough are.

The U.S. Census Bureau provided all the above data and an updated summary will be available upon the increased downloadable demographic data availability for the 2010 census year.

 

 

By the Numbers

occ_fixed_GRAY!! (640x480)North Ward Neighborhood

 

In 2000

550 Total Housing Units

33 vacant

175 Owner Occupied (32%)

342 Renter Occupied (62%)

384 Total parcels

 

982 total population

91% white

55% female

21% minors

Households 517

Average Household size 1.76

Families 234

Average Family size 2.27

 


In 2010

609 total housing units

34 vacancies

179 owner occupied (29%)

396 rental units occupied (65%)

384 Total parcels

203 rental properties (52%)

1052 total population (7% increase)

 

283 total unique owners (legally, nomenclature variations)

~8% of rentals are owned by people living in the neighborhood

~34% of rentals are owned by people living outside of Lewisburg

 

 

BR study area (640x470)Bull Run Neighborhood

 

149 total parcels

~205 total housing units

41 owner occupied (28% of parcels, 20% of housing units)

113 rentals (76% of parcels, 80% of housing units)

51 rentals are owned by people living outside of Lewisburg (46% of rentals, 34% of parcels)