Renters with Children, Older Households, Households with Less Education More Likely to Face Eviction or Other Forms of Displacement

A paper in City & Community,“Predicting Mobility: Who is Forced to Move?,” uses the 2013 American Housing Survey (AHS) to examine which households are more likely to experience voluntary or forced moves. The authors use a broad definition of displacement that includes evictions, foreclosures, and other reasons why households might involuntarily leave housing. The study found that renter households with children, older householders, and householders with less education are more likely to experience an eviction or forced move.

According to the 2013 AHS, more than 48% of renters had voluntarily moved in the previous two years, as had 11% of homeowners. Renters were approximately three times more likely to experience an involuntary move: 2.3% of renters were forced to move, compared to less than 0.7% of homeowners. The authors categorized reported causes of involuntary moves into private displacement (e.g., condominium conversion, owner taking over unit), government displacement (e.g., condemnation of home), disaster loss, eviction, and foreclosure.

White renters and those with higher education are more likely than Black renters to move voluntarily. Renters with children are more likely to experience a forced move than renters without children, as are householders 65 or older compared to householders under age 35. Analysis of involuntary moves suggested that Asian and Black renters are less likely than white renters to experience private displacement. Renters with higher levels of education are less likely to experience eviction, as are younger renters.

The authors note that their sample may undercount and not represent the experiences of the most precariously housed households. The households included in this sample were all able to obtain new housing after their involuntary move, but people in homeless shelters or living on the street after their forced move are not included in the AHS.

The authors found no singular set of characteristics to be predictive of the risk of displacement across all five categories of displacement (private displacement, government displacement, disaster loss, eviction, foreclosure). Their findings suggest it might be inappropriate to study displacement as a monolithic social phenomenon—that each type of displacement might be best examined on its own. 

The paper can be found at: