The ramifications of a tenancy in common or heirs’ property ownership are extensive. This kind of tenuous ownership affects not only individual families but also the economic health of the typically minority and lower-wealth communities where these properties tend to cluster. Very little research has identified heirs’ property extent at a broad scale, however. We present results of our approach to identifying heirs’ parcels for every county and census tract in the U.S., using geospatial methodologies and aggregated parcel records acquired from LightBox. The method estimated 444,172 heirs’ parcels for the U.S., not including territories. The combined acreage is 9,247,452 worth $41,324,318 billion. We discuss shortcomings of secondary parcel data and the problems this presents for accurately assessing heirs’ property extent, while the spatial location aspect allows us to analyze for spatial patterns such as clustering, which supports new analyses of issues associated with heirs’ property.


Southern Rural Development Center

Publication Date


Spatial Coverage

United States

Research Center

Southern Rural Development Center


geographic information systems, heirs' property, spatial analysis, tenancy in common



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