According to a new study, the group that suffers the most from tenant evictions in the United States is children

Investing / Monday, 30 October 2023 14:56

Researchers were able to link hundreds of thousands of eviction requests with detailed records from the US Census Bureau and found significant racial disparities in who faces eviction.

According to the new analysis conducted by the Eviction Lab and the US Census Bureau, children are the most vulnerable population when it comes to facing eviction from their rented homes.

"We have realized that children are the population group that suffers the most from evictions. If you have children in your household, the likelihood of facing eviction is much higher," said Juan Pablo Garnham, the head of communications and policy at The Eviction Lab, in an interview with Noticias Telemundo.

"We found that every year, 2.9 million children under the age of 18 are at risk of eviction, and this is a staggering number," he added.

Of the children at risk of eviction, approximately 1.5 million, or two out of five, receive eviction judgments.

A recent study offers the most comprehensive demographic picture of those living in rented housing and undergoing eviction procedures after researchers linked hundreds of thousands of eviction requests to detailed US Census Bureau records.

"We were able to access official census data, and the results are alarming in terms of numbers: now we know that an average of 7.6 million people are at risk of eviction every year," said Garnham. "These are data from 2007 to 2016, but excluding cases where eviction moratoriums were imposed due to the pandemic, the numbers remain fairly constant."

Racial disparities are evident, especially among Black women, where the eviction filing rate was 28% for those with children compared to 16% for those without children.

"Even though less than 1 in 5 renters in the United States are Black, nearly half of all evictions affect Black renters, including Afro-Latinos," Garnham said.

Income disparities persist between Black and White renters, although they vary by state.

While eviction rates among Latinos are generally below 5%, sometimes even lower than non-Latino Whites, Garnham warned that this figure is far from accurate.

"Since this data comes from courts, as a result of formal eviction processes," he said, "it does not account for unofficial evictions, which are often applied to undocumented Latino populations, and we believe that this number must be significant."

According to estimates, there are around 11 million undocumented individuals in the country.

"In our study, because of how we link people to census records, we can only focus on people with social security numbers," said Nick Greif, one of the study's authors. "So we do not take into account undocumented immigrants, as well as other people who have less contact with various government systems. It is very difficult to see what these communities go through."

According to Eviction Lab researchers, many Latinos, especially those with family members lacking legal status, do not go through formal legal or court procedures when faced with eviction notices, so they are ultimately evicted unofficially, without any legal or court documents.

Consequences for Children: "About a month ago, we were given only a month to vacate the apartment. We had been living there for about a year and a half, but the owner kept saying that the city had asked him to take action, and it was urgent," said Maria, who lives in Irvine, California. Her last name is not disclosed because she is still applying for legal work authorization.

"I have a 5-month-old daughter, but I still don't have documents, so I had to go into debt to find another place and leave on time. Now I owe $6,500," said 26-year-old Maria, originally from Puebla, Mexico.

Eviction is not just a legal process and a piece of paper; it affects your life on many levels, including healthcare, the economy, school performance, and mental health. Many people tell us that children don't forget this and that it affects them for a long time," Garnham said.

In recent years, researchers have shown that adverse childhood experiences can have lifelong consequences for health, education, and employment.

Housing instability before the age of 5 can lead to delayed readiness for preschool and is associated with attention and behavior problems, as well as delayed cognitive abilities in school. Adolescents are more likely to experience depression and anxiety and have difficulty processing information.

"My life turned into hell about a month ago because the apartment owner sent us a letter asking us to vacate it," explained Patricia Montes, a 36-year-old who works as a teacher's aide for children with special needs.