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.
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.
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.
Matthew Desmond is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow. He is the author of four books, including Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016), which won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Carnegie Medal, and PEN / John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. The principal investigator of The Eviction Lab, Desmond’s research focuses on poverty in America, city life, housing insecurity, public policy, racial inequality, and ethnography. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, and the William Julius Wilson Early Career Award. A Contributing Writer for the New York Times Magazine, Desmond was listed in 2016 among the Politico 50, as one of “fifty people across the country who are most influencing the national political debate.”
Senior Research Specialist
James is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where he obtained a B.A. in Public Policy with a focus on Applied Statistics and Labor Policy. He has worked for several public interest nonprofits, such as the ACLU and the NEA, where he developed a deep interest in the intersection of statistical analysis and policy. Currently serving as a Research Specialist with the Eviction Lab, James seeks to better understand how the current legal infrastructure affects housing instability, as well as how policymakers can best craft housing assistance solutions that will benefit their own communities. In his free time, he is an avid dancer and enjoys volunteering in the local arts community.
Lavar Edmonds received a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Mary Washington and a master’s in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Guided by experiences as a high school math teacher, his background includes using quantitative methods and big data to study pervasive social inequalities, particularly in education. In college, he worked as the data analyst for the school’s Student Transition Program, studying academic outcomes for first-generation and traditionally underrepresented minority students at the university. While at Penn, Lavar worked as a research assistant at the School District of Philadelphia and conducted a semester-long research project examining the causes of teacher exit in Tulsa Public Schools. As a Research Specialist in the Eviction Lab, he is especially interested in studying the intersection of housing policy – namely, causes and consequences of housing instability – with education policy. Beyond policy research, Lavar is a classically-trained violinist, and enjoys music performance and rousing, relatively slow-paced games of tennis.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Ashley joined the Eviction Lab as a postdoctoral research associate after completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation research examined the formation and consequences of spatial clustering of children with non-medical exemptions to school vaccine requirements in California. More broadly, her research interests focus on how social networks and local communities provide the social context for individual decisions and events that aggregate to form macro-level patterns across space and time. She is particularly interested in how quantitative and computational methodology can be used with administrative and online data to gain new insights into social behavior and community-level outcomes. When not cleaning data (which she rather enjoys), she goes hiking, puts together puzzles, and has been working her way through Amazon’s list of 100 books to read in a lifetime.
Associate Professional Specialist
Peter joined the Eviction Lab as an Associate Professional Specialist after completing his doctorate in Sociology and Demography at the University of California, Berkeley. Peter’s research examines the ways that employment practices and public policies affect children and low-income families. His dissertation analyzed the relationships between parental working schedules, household structure, and childcare arrangements. He has also studied the effects of mass imprisonment on kin networks, exposure to subfelony criminal justice in New York City, and trajectories of employment and disability among American workers. Generally, he’s interested in the possibilities that nontraditional quantitative data sources and new methodologies present for better describing social phenomena and their variability. Peter runs one marathon a year and no, he has not qualified for Boston (thank you for asking). You can read more about him at pshepburn.github.io.
Katie received an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago in 2016. Her research interests included religion and the literary history of consent eighteenth and nineteenth century America. She taught courses titled “Death and Dying in Early America” and “Women Possessed: Religion, Gender, and Sexuality,” as well as first year writing classes. Her interests related to the Eviction Lab include gender based housing discrimination, and how to improve housing stability for people affected by addiction and mental health issues. In her free time, Katie enjoys stand up and improv comedy, podcasts, and birdwatching.
Lillian is a recent graduate from New York University’s Stern School of Business, where she studied Economics and Global Business and minored in Social Entrepreneurship. She grew up in Hong Kong and has lived in Chicago and New York. Drawing on her experiences living in cities, her undergraduate thesis used General Social Survey data to explore the effect of housing prices on perceptions of inequality. She has also worked with various surveying methods conducting program evaluations for non-profits and customer research at Squarespace. As a Research Specialist at the Eviction Lab, Lillian hopes to investigate the cyclical relationship between housing, poverty, and income inequality. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, and playing the ukulele.
Adam is a research specialist with the Eviction Lab. He received his bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in analysis and research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to working at Princeton, he supported social science research projects at the Center for Financial Security and the Environmental Resources Center. He also has a background in political organizing and community non-profits. At the eviction lab, Adam’s research interests include exploring the intersection between affordable housing policy, community health, and cooperative economic institutions.
Mabel is an undergraduate student at Princeton pursuing a concentration in Public and International Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson school, with certificates in Latin American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She’s co-president of Princeton Students for Gender Equality, a cohort member of TigerChallenge at the Keller Center for entrepreneurship, and an active member of Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice and Princeton Latinos y Amigos. In her work as a research assistant in the Eviction Lab, she hopes to be able to use data and statistical analysis to show the deep social inequality in housing and tenant abuse.
Graduate Research Assistant
Henry is a first-year doctoral student in Sociology and Social Policy at Princeton University. He graduated from Harvard College in 2017 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Statistics. For his undergraduate thesis, he studied how American cities have become unaffordable for many renters and the consequences that has had for social life in rent-burdened communities. Henry currently studies the causes of rising rent prices, the relationships between landlords and tenants, and how evictions affect community life. In his free time, Henry likes to cook, listen to podcasts, and recite scenes from sitcoms to patient friends.
Chase is a current undergraduate at Princeton University, pursuing a concentration in Sociology, with certificates in Statistics & Machine Learning and Theater. She’s a fellow at the Carl A Fields Center for Equality + Cultural Understanding, one of three student members on the Princeton Campus Iconography Committee, and worked at Princeton University Archives Library on a project called “Archiving Student Activism at Princeton.”A native of San Francisco, Chase is also a former downhill ski racer and 400 and 800m track runner. She’s very excited to be a part of the Eviction Lab for the opportunity to learn powerful data analytics skills and learn how to apply those skills to fight social inequality.
Graduate Research Assistant
Gillian Slee is a first-year doctoral student in Sociology and Social Policy at Princeton University. She graduated from Harvard College in 2016 with a degree in Social Studies and a minor in Psychology. In 2017, Gillian earned her M.Phil. degree in Criminology at the University of Cambridge where she was a Herchel Smith Harvard Scholar. For her undergraduate thesis, she conducted an ethnographic study of public defenders and their clients in New York City’s criminal courts. Her master’s thesis explored legitimacy and legitimation in the British context and investigated how power-holders justified their authority in magistrates’ court. Gillian’s current research focuses on urban poverty, criminal justice, policy, and ethnography. At the Eviction Lab, Gillian is exploring the consequences of eviction on various neighborhood-level outcomes, including voting.
Gladys is a senior majoring in Economics at Princeton. As part of her independent work, she has researched the effects of monetizing Massive Open Online Courses and plans to expand on this in a senior thesis. On campus, Gladys is involved with Business Today and the Econometrics Society. She became interested in joining the Eviction Lab after reporting on housing in the Bronx for a journalism course, and hopes to learn more about the laws surrounding eviction as well as its intersection with education. In her free time, Gladys enjoys writing, running, and cooking.
James Minton is a designer and web developer committed to projects with a focus on public service and social justice. He holds degrees in photography, multimedia arts and psychology. Most recent projects include work with NYU School of Medicine, and developing Justshelter.org in conjunction with Matthew Desmond’s release of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. As Creative Director of the Eviction Lab Web Team, he oversees visual design for user interfaces and other website pages, as well as contributes to front end coding. He also serves as general manager and principal liaison to the Research Team.
User Experience Consultant, Translator
Abby Bajuniemi is a former visiting professor of Linguistics and Spanish at Macalester College. She completed a PhD in Hispanic and Lusophone Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at the University of Minnesota, where her research interests centered on language acquisition and sociolinguistics. She translates that love of language structure and teaching into a passion for accessibility and inclusivity in design and content. As part of Eviction Lab’s web team and resident User Experience consultant, she conducts research that informs the design and function of the website and its content (English and Spanish). Outside of work, she writes and speaks on the intersection of UX and linguistics and mentors young professional women.
Noele is a visual designer and photographer with 10+ years’ experience designing for the web, specializing in branding, creative direction, UI design and product development. She studied photography and design at London College of Communication. Drawn to complex design problems that seek to improve quality of life, she has contributed to a number of projects and redesigns in tech and ecommerce, and recently nonprofit. Her interests outside design are typography, cities, maps, learning and exploration. As lead designer for Eviction Lab she is committed to building intuitive and accessible user experiences which will serve as instruments for learning and change.
Lane Olson holds a Bachelor of Science in computing science, with distinction, from the University of Alberta. With nearly two decades of web design and development experience, Lane has created interactive experiences for art galleries, universities, and highly acclaimed online courses. Through his previous work creating data visualizations and maps for online courses, like Mountains 101 and Indigenous Canada, Lane has developed a keen interest in creating interactive tools that are effective and easy to use. As the Technical Lead at Eviction Lab, Lane is working with the team to create the software architecture and implementation of the mapping and data tools for the project. When Lane’s not writing documentation or code, he’s helping out with a friend’s music project or working on one of his own.
Patrick received a Bachelor of Arts in public policy from the University of Michigan. This background has informed his work as a web developer, most recently creating tools for evaluations and interactive dashboards at a university research center. He has experience in data visualization and analysis as well as civic technology projects involving tenants’ rights and the justice system. As a developer for Eviction Lab’s web team, he works to integrate data and build functionality to make our mapping tool useful across a range of audiences and use cases.
Christopher Groskopf is a journalist and software engineer who lives in the piney woods of East Texas. For the Eviction Lab, Chris lent his expertise in information design and programming toward creation of our eviction mapping strategy, as well as recruitment of technical talent. Currently he’s building tools for solving problems with public data at Enigma. Before that, he spent eight years coding in the service of journalism, working on teams including NPR Visuals and Quartz Things. He is the creator of handy open source tools, such as csvkit, and the author of fun-to-cite documentation, like The Quartz Guide to Bad Data. Chris and his wife, Tasneem Raja, run a local news site called The Tyler Loop.
Jonny brings over 17 years of experience in the fields of web development, design, UI/UX, and project management to the team. Previously he worked with one of western Canada’s largest online education providers, where he was the UI/UX Team Lead, and a web developer Jack-of-all. As the CMS Specialist at Eviction Lab, Jonny is inspired to be working with modern content delivery services such as Netlify and Hugo, and the general world of “JAMstack” architecture. When he’s not slinging ones and zeros, Jonny will most likely be writing a song, or recording, as he is an award winning singer/songwriter in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada.
Natalie studied economics and sociology at Mills College in Oakland, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political, Legal and Economic Analysis. With over a decade working in a variety of industries, from real estate and sales to finance and non-profit, Natalie understands the importance of efficiency and effective management. As Eviction Lab’s operations and HR manager, she assisted in recruiting the web team as well as streamlined HR and accounting processes. She is passionate about community networks and small business optimization. When she’s not working with Eviction Lab, she’s planning her next event or collaborating with with artists and entrepreneurs in New York and California.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Director, Data Science & Technology
Assisted with: Washington, DC
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles
Assisted with: Los Angeles and California
Staff Attorney, Housing Unit
Community Legal Aid
Assisted with: Massachusetts
Moore/Sloan Data Science Postdoc, Department of Sociology
University of Washington
Assisted with: Washington State
Assisted with: Kansas and Missouri
Housing Policy Analysts
Community Service Society
Assisted with: New York City
Contract Performance Officer
Philadelphia Legal Assistance
Assisted with: Pennsylvania
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