A corpmate commented in passing how he missed the Tech 1 cruisers and frigate fights he used to see. He's right: tech 1 cruisers and frigates rarely see much time in the space we inhabit and for good reason.
Their more advanced counterparts are superior in every way. They tank better, do more damage, have better range and abilities, and are even usually faster. One can argue that the higher cost is the balancing point except... well... it isn't. Tech II ships are not that expensive for the increase in performance they give and every pilot worth his salt knows it.
And since such a large percentage of the experienced pilots have good solid sources of income and the skills to handle the tech II ships, it is a no-brainer to fly them. Take for example, me. More specifically, let's compare what I can do in a Blackbird to one of its Tech II variations, the Falcon.
No modules, my skills:
Speed: 238 m/s
Layout: 4 highs, 6 mids, 2 lows, 3 rigs
Speed: 213 m/s
Layout: 4 highs, 7 mids, 3 lows, 2 rigs
Right out of the factory the tech II version has better shields by a significant degree, and more slots in the mids and lows to improve its performance.
Outfitting the Blackbird like my Falcon, it gets slightly more DPS (168 to 163) but with only 4 ECM modules for jamming (at a lower strength too!) and a capacitor that lasts for 2.5 minutes instead of 16.75 minutes. And the Falcon can fit the Covert Ops Cloak for warping unseen. Yes, the Blackbird has an extra high slot where the cloak fits on the Falcon and a third rig slot, but it lacks the powergrid for another serious module and the rig calibration points for another useful rig.
And the base ship costs? About 3-4 million for the Blackbird, about 80 million for the Falcon. At first that seems like a lot but consider: the cost of the Falcon is roughly equivalent to about 6 level four missions, or 6-8 hours of playing, which translates to one or two sessions for some players, at most a week for others. The cost of the Blackbird is essentially throwaway to experienced pilots, so the benefits of the increased performance of the Falcon vastly outweigh the minimal cost to the majority of pilots that can fly Tech II ships.
And you know what? If a pilot cannot fly the Falcon due to cost or lack of skills, they fly a battlecruiser which is at most a base cost of 32 million and has tremendous advantages in power and durability over cruisers. And those two factors means that only the poorest and most unskilled pilots fly cruisers and they mostly have enough sense to stay out of low sec and 0.0.
NOTE: There are exceptions to the rule. Ruptures and Thoraxes have good reputations for decent combat ships despite being Tech 1 cruisers. This disclaimer is to head a certain commenter off. ;)