Eviction and the Rental Housing Crisis in Rural America

Carl Gershenson, Matthew Desmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evictions are commonplace in the United States, and their negative consequences are broad and severe. However, research on evictions to date has focused primarily on urban areas, and thus has not addressed the impact evictions have on rural renters. This paper offers the first comprehensive analysis of evictions in rural communities, where the number of renters has been increasing in recent decades. We use Eviction Lab's national eviction database to study the approximately 220,000 evictions filed in rural counties each year. While the majority of rural evictions affect families with a white head of household (57 percent in 2010), eviction filing rates are four times higher among rural Black renters than among rural white renters. Eviction filing rates are highest in heavily Black counties in the rural southeast. While eviction filings are somewhat lower in rural majority-Hispanic counties, these communities experience low-quality informal housing and overcrowding. Eviction rates are also higher in rural counties with higher rent burdens and where more households include children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-105
Number of pages20
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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