Photo: Three-decker home at 35 Dartmouth Street, Worcester Massachusetts. Photo by wikipedia username: John Pheland, own work, 2012, [cc-3/0], via wikimedia commons, accessed June, 2023/
Regionally specific, the three-decker [†] (also known as triple-decker) refers to a multi-family housing unit that developed in response to the demands of the New England textile industry.
The three-decker's two defining characteristics, one physical and one economic, are illustrated. Its physical essence is that it is a vertical stack of three apartments, each occupying one floor. Its traditional economic arrangement is the building to be owned by one household, which lives in one of the three units and rents out the other two to tenant households. (This does not apply universally: the building can also be owned by an absentee landlord, or can be split into condominiums.
† What Happened to the Three-Decker?, Dartmough College Masters Degree thesis, Jacob Wegmann, 1997, www.mit.edu, accessed June, 2023.