About Eviction Lab

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Bearing witness to America’s eviction epidemic.

Introduction

A woman watches as her belongings are removed from her home. (Photo: Michael Kienitz)

Introduction

Today, the majority of poor renting families in America spend over half of their income on housing costs, and eviction is transforming their lives. Yet little is known about the prevalence, causes, and consequences of housing insecurity.

The Eviction Lab is a team of researchers, students, and website architects who believe that a stable, affordable home is central to human flourishing and economic mobility. Accordingly, understanding the sudden, traumatic loss of home through eviction is foundational to understanding poverty in America.

Drawing on tens of millions of records, the Eviction Lab at Princeton University has published the first ever dataset of evictions in America, going back to 2000. We hope you’ll join us in using the tools of this website to discover new facts about how eviction is shaping your community, raising awareness and working toward new solutions.

“Eviction functions as a cause, not just a condition of poverty."
—Matthew Desmond

Background

Background

Matthew Desmond started studying housing, poverty, and eviction in 2008, living and working alongside poor tenants and their landlords in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Combining ethnographic fieldwork with original statistical analyses, Desmond discovered that eviction was incredibly prevalent in low-income communities and functioned as a cause, not just a condition, of poverty. This work was summarized in his book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016).

When speaking to people and policymakers across the country about Evicted, Desmond realized the need to collect national data on eviction to address fundamental questions about residential instability, forced moves, and poverty in America. With the support of the Gates, JPB, and Ford Foundations, as well as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Desmond founded the Eviction Lab in 2017 with the conviction that stable, affordable housing can be an effective platform to promote economic mobility, health, and community vitality.

Big problems demand big data.

Our Work

Case files are stacked high inside a housing courtroom. (Photo: Sally Ryan)

Our Work

Through this website, the Eviction Lab has made nationwide eviction data publicly available and accessible. We hope this data is used by policymakers, community organizers, journalists, educators, non-profit organizations, students, and citizens interested in understanding more about housing, eviction, and poverty in their own backyards. You can look at evictions over time, map evictions in the United States, compare the eviction rates of different neighborhoods, cities, or states, and generate custom reports about America’s eviction epidemic.

Researchers can use the data to help us document the prevalence, causes, and consequences of eviction and to evaluate laws and policies designed to promote residential security and reduce poverty. Together, we hope our findings will inform programs to prevent eviction and family homelessness, raise awareness of the centrality of housing insecurity in the lives of low-income families, and deepen our understanding of the fundamental drivers of poverty in America.

Eviction Lab Team

We thank the following Citizen Researchers for helping us build America’s first national database of evictions by providing original data to the Eviction Lab. If you would like to share eviction data with us, please email research@evictionlab.org.

Graham MacDonald

Associate Director, Data Science & Technology

Urban Institute

Assisted with: Washington, DC

Kyle Nelson

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology

University of California, Los Angeles

Assisted with: Los Angeles and California

Aaron Dulles, esq.

Staff Attorney, Housing Unit

Community Legal Aid

Assisted with: Massachusetts

Tim Thomas

Moore/Sloan Data Science Postdoc, Department of Sociology

University of Washington

Assisted with: Washington State

Flatland—KCPT

Assisted with: Kansas and Missouri

Oksana Mironova & Thomas J. Waters

Housing Policy Analysts

Community Service Society

Assisted with: New York City

Jonathan Pyle

Contract Performance Officer

Philadelphia Legal Assistance

Assisted with: Pennsylvania