Mission: To shed light on the connection between the sudden, traumatic loss of home through eviction and poverty.
Background: Matthew Desmond, a professor in the department of sociology at Princeton University, started studying housing, poverty, and eviction in 2008. Combining ethnographic fieldwork with statistical analyses, Desmond discovered that eviction was incredibly prevalent in low-income communities and functioned as a cause, not just a condition, of poverty. His work was summarized in his 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond subsequently came to the realization there was a need for a national dataset on eviction that could inform conversations and policies related to residential instability, forced moves, and poverty. With support from the Gates, JPB, and Ford foundations, as well as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, he founded the Eviction Lab in 2017 and spearheaded its efforts to publish the first ever dataset of evictions in America. It is the hope of Desmond and his team of young researchers that the data provided on the site will be used to document the prevalence, causes, and consequences of eviction and help formulate laws and policies designed to promote residential security and reduce poverty.
Outstanding Web Features: Visitors to the Eviction Lab site can map evictions in the U.S. from 2000 to 2016 using eviction-related data (eviction rate and eviction filing rate) and census data sets, including population, nationality, and household income, as well as by state and county. Visitors also can compare eviction rates for different neighborhoods, cities, or states and generate custom reports using an eviction rankings data tool that allows them to choose an area and data type or search within states using a Region menu. In addition, the site offers a Q&A-style infoguide titled Why Eviction Matters; a methodology FAQ; and a blog-style updates section.