© 2024 WXPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New Eviction Data Underscores America's Affordable-Housing Crisis


WASHINGTON - New data from the Eviction Lab project shows that more than 6,000 Americans were kicked out of their homes every day in 2016. That's a total of 2.3 million people, many of them children, uprooted by evictions each year.

The project examined more than 80 million records going back to 2000, and found that in 2016, four eviction notices were filed every minute in the U.S. That does not include evictions off the books - those in which landlords and tenants agreed on a solution before a notice was filed.

Media Lab research specialist Adam Porton said the loss of housing can lead to other social problems, and even make it harder for those evicted to find housing in the future. "Maybe you can find temporary housing, stay with a friend or relative, maybe you end up homeless for a period of time," Porton said. "It means you might lose your job if where you end up is too far from where you have to work. Your children might have to move schools, and it takes a toll on every aspect of family life."

By highlighting the housing affordability crisis, Eviction Lab researchers hope social scientists, journalists and policy makers will take a deeper dive to identify causes and their solutions. You might expect eviction rates to be high in expensive places such as New York and Los Angeles, but Porton said Philadelphia has 80 evictions every day. "Eviction actually seems to be a bigger problem in smaller market cities," he said, "where even though rents are lower than some of those more expensive cities and we don't hear them talked about as much, they actually show much higher eviction rates."

Porton said the affordable housing crisis in the U.S. has pushed millions of poor, working families to the brink of eviction because the majority spend 50 percent of their income on housing costs, while one-in-four spend more than 70 percent of their income on rent and utilities. He noted that Americans were alarmed by the enormous number of foreclosures at the height of the Great Recession in 2008, but said evictions and their connection to poverty don't get the same attention. "Like any other social problem, there does appear to be a racial dimension to eviction," Porton said. "And some of the biggest trends we've seen have been in the Southeast and the South and in places that have historically high proportions of African-Americans living there."

The Eviction Lab is run by Princeton University. They have created an interactive website that allows people to track and better address the problem of evictions in their own communities.

Up North Updates
* indicates required