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Eviction Isn't Just About Poverty. It's Also About Race - and Virginia Proves It (VA)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Eviction Isn't Just About Poverty. It's Also About Race - and Virginia Proves It

"What happens during an eviction couldn’t seem more straightforward: A tenant doesn’t have the money to make rent, so the landlord gives him or her the boot.

New research, however, is complicating that picture of eviction in America. It’s not only a matter of poverty. It’s also a matter of race.

That’s the striking conclusion of researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, who published a report this fall that found eviction rates are disproportionately high in minority communities. Across the state, roughly 60 percent of majority African American neighborhoods have an annual eviction rate higher than 10 percent of households — roughly four times the national average — even after controlling for poverty and income rates.

In Richmond, where some neighborhoods have rates of eviction higher than 33 percent, the results have been even more stark. For every 10 percent increase in African American share of the population, the eviction rate increases by 1.2 percent. But if the white population increases at the same rate, the eviction rate shrinks by .9 percent.

“This is about understanding the ‘why,’ ” said Benjamin Teresa, an assistant professor at VCU who conducted the research and has co-founded a think tank at the university to study eviction in the state. “Why are [evictions] more concentrated in parts of the state and cities?”

The research comes amid increasing attention to evictions in Virginia, sparked by a sweeping analysis published in April by Princeton University researchers that found the state’s eviction rate of 5.1­ percent is twice the national average, based on data from 2016. And within Virginia, some cities have some of the country’s highest urban rates..."

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