Neither academic researchers nor the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have studied evictions from public housing in national perspective. Combining federal registers of public housing authorities (PHAs) with individual-level records from >25 million eviction filings issued between 2006 and 2016, this is the first national-level study to estimate the prevalence and dynamics of eviction in public housing units. We find that the average PHA files roughly 40 evictions each year or 7.6 cases for every 100 public housing households. Public housing complexes were responsible for approximately 5.8 out of every 100 eviction filings in our sample, while only 3.5 in 100 renting households resided in public housing. Controlling for socioeconomic factors, we show that PHAs with a higher percentage of Black residents have significantly higher eviction filing rates. Eviction filing rates in PHAs are associated with those in the surrounding private rental market, indicating that PHAs do not function independently from the social contexts in which they are embedded. These findings reveal significant variation in eviction filing rates across local PHAs and highlight the need for clear policies on lease terminations and improved documentation of eviction actions in public housing at the federal and local levels.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Urban Studies
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
- Housing policy
- Public housing