The data’s in: 83 million evictions later, there’s a big problem

A professor created a national database tracking evictions for the first time

New York Weekend Edition /
Apr.April 08, 2018 04:16 PM

Left: Matthew Desmond at the 2017 National Book Festival. His book “Evicted” won a Pulitzer Prize in 2017. (Credit: back photo by Jerrel Catlett)

Princeton sociologist and professor Matthew Desmond combed through 83 million court records dating back to 2000 to create the first nationwide database of evictions.

Though it’s incomplete in places, the result shows that displacement is far more routine than experts, including Desmond, knew until the database was assembled, according to the New York Times.

Desmond authored the acclaimed book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City”, in which he documented how evictions perpetuate a cycle of poverty among low-income tenants in Milwaukee, but his data project shows, by numbers, how often similar stories unfold across the country.

Some of the initial findings include that eviction is not correlated to market prices and, in 2016, landlords evicted one in every 50 tenants nationally. [NYT]Erin Hudson


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