The Concentrated Geography of Eviction

Devin Q. Rutan, Matthew Desmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Preventing eviction is a tractable, efficient way to reduce homelessness. Doing so requires understanding the precise geography of eviction. Drawing on more than 660,000 eviction records across seventeen cities, this study finds the geography of evictions to be durable across time. Rather than occurring when the status quo is disrupted, through gentrification or other modes of neighborhood change, eviction is itself the status quo in some pockets of American cities. The study shows that a few buildings are responsible for an outsized share of cities’ eviction rates. Focusing on three cities—Cleveland, Ohio; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Tucson, Arizona—it finds that the one hundred most-evicting parcels account for more than one in six evictions in Cleveland and two in five evictions in Fayetteville and Tucson. Policy-makers looking to prevent homelessness can use the diagnostic tools developed in this study to precisely target high-evicting neighborhoods and buildings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-81
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • displacement
  • durable inequality
  • eviction
  • homelessness


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