Families with Children More Likely to Face Eviction

A new study demonstrates that households with children face a higher risk of eviction than households without children. The study drew data from court records of all evictions taking place in Milwaukee County, WI between January 1 and December 31, 2010. The addresses of evicted households were linked to American Community Survey (2006-2010) data, resulting in a data sample of 6,034 household eviction cases. In addition, the researchers conducted in-person interviews with 251 tenants facing eviction. According to study findings, a 1% increase in the percentage of children in a neighborhood is associated with a 6.5% increase in the number of evictions in a neighborhood, even after controlling for factors such as race, poverty, and vacancy rates. Across Milwaukee, neighborhoods where children made up at least 40% of the population had an eviction rate of one in twelve renter households. Conversely, neighborhoods where children made up 10% of the population or less had much lower eviction rates (one in 123 renter households). Researchers also found that a third of households facing eviction paid 80% or more of their household income towards rent. Overall, 92% of all households facing eviction were summoned to court because they were behind on rent payments. Nearly two-thirds of these households (62%) had children, and over a third were single women living with children. However, households with children facing eviction were not more likely to face multiple lease violations (6.0%) than households without children (6.7%). The researchers also found that at the household level, families with children were 0.17 times more likely to receive an eviction judgment in court than were households without children. This finding remained consistent, even when the researchers controlled for the amount of back-rent owed, race, and gender. The experience of eviction had broad negative effects on children; eviction can be linked to poor educational and health outcomes among affected children. The authors stress the need for more study of housing discrimination based upon family type, and for strengthening policies that protect the vulnerable groups that frequently experience eviction. The research study, entitled “Evicting Children,” was published in the journal Social Forces. Access the full report at: http://bit.ly/ZkQ0lF