Not many of us know, let alone talk, very much about the country’s eviction epidemic. No wonder…this is the first time we’ve had any published data about this enormous problem.
The Eviction Lab, a research group associated with Princeton University, just released its first-ever data driven report on evictions across 48 contiguous US states. The findings of this report put the gravity of this eviction epidemic in high relief.
In 2016, +1M households (and more individuals since households usually have more than one person) were evicted. These +1M household evictions are comparable to the +1M homes that were bank-seized for foreclosure in 2010 at the peak of the housing crisis.
Many of the cities with the highest eviction rates are concentrated in the Rust Belt and Southeast. Here is the top 10 of the 100 cities with the highest percentages of evictions.
You’ll note that larger cities get a disproportionate amount of attention in this affordability crisis whereas smaller cities (Hampton, VA, Jackson, Miss, Kansas City, Mis, Omaha, NB, Albuquerque, NM, Oklahoma City, OK) with high eviction rates are often neglected.
- North Charleston, NC 16.5%
- Richmond, VA 11.44%
- Hampton, VA 10.49%
- Newport, VA 10.23%
- Jackson, MS 8.75%
- Norfolk, VA 8.65%
- Greensborough, NC 8.41%
- Columbia, SC 8.22%
- Warren, MO 8.08%
- Chesapeake, VA 7.9 %
Eviction is not just a problem for the working poor or impoverished; the shrinking middle class is also affected. According to data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), renters making minimum wage at 40 hour/week jobs can afford a one-bedroom apartment in just 12 counties nation-wide. Also from the NLIHC, +11M spend +50% of their paychecks on rent.
Highly affluent cities in the US are also affected by this housing crisis. Santa Barbara, CA is just one example of a wealthy city where people, mostly people native to the area, are marginalized by the country’s housing/eviction situation Non-profits, churches and housing coalitions in Santa Barbara, CA put together a program called The Safe Parking Program to offer low-income workers living in their cars/vans a safe place to park and rest overnight. With a 7-10 year waiting list for subsidized housing in this jewel-like town, The Safe Parking Program accommodates 150 cars, likely more people, in adjacent parking lots downtown.
This program, like many safety-net programs that serve evicted and homeless people, puts little more than a dent in a problem that affects working, born and raised locals who simply cannot afford soaring rents on stagnant wages. According to Cassie Roach, coordinator of Santa Barbara’s Safe Parking Program, “This is the worst housing crisis I’ve ever seen…and it looks like it’s getting more difficult every day.”