Rental Insecurity: The Threat of Evictions to America’s Renters

Source: Chris Salviati, Apartment List, October 20, 2017

Apartment List is committed to improving the process of renting, and as part of that mission, we publish research on issues that impact both renters and landlords. In this report, we study the prevalence of evictions, an issue that has serious implications for renters, and often for landlords as well. Our data shows that the vast majority of evictions are the result of non-payment of rent. Apartment List does not endorse the views or opinions of any individuals mentioned in this article, including Matthew Desmond.

– Analyzing data from Apartment List users, we find that nearly one in five renters were unable to pay their rent in full for at least one of the past three months. We estimate that 3.7 million American renters have experienced an eviction.

– Evictions disproportionately impact the most vulnerable members of our society. Renters without a college education are more than twice as likely to face eviction as those with a four-year degree.

– Additionally, we find that black households face the highest rates of eviction, even when controlling for education and income. Perhaps most troublingly, households with children are twice as likely to face an eviction threat, regardless of marital status.

– The impacts of eviction are severe and long-lasting. Evictions are a leading cause of homelessness, and research has tied eviction to poor health outcomes in both adults and children. These effects are persistent, and experiencing an eviction makes it difficult to get back on one’s feet.

– Performing a metro-level analysis, we find that evictions are most common in metros hit hard by the foreclosure crisis and in those experiencing high rates of poverty. Perhaps counterintuitively, expensive coastal metros have comparatively low rates of eviction, in part because strong job markets with high median wages offset expensive rents in those areas.