April 15, 2019
By Emily F. Keller
Evictions Project Examines Demographic and Economic Trends in Washington State

A group of University of Washington researchers have published a new report highlighting demographic trends in home evictions and their impact on homelessness in Washington state. The report, “The State of Evictions: Results from the University of Washington Evictions Project”, has been published as a living website that will be updated as further research progresses.

The authors are Timothy A. Thomas, Ott Toomet, Ian Kennedy, and Alex Ramiller.

The project was formed in the summer of 2018 to measure and analyze evictions through court records, census data and housing market statistics. The project combines data science techniques with demographic, urban sociology, and economic theory to examine the relationship between rent, neighborhood change, homelessness, evictions and housing insecurity.

Results from the study include:

  • Between 2013 and 2017, 1 in 55 adults in Washington State were evicted (totaling 130,203 people).
  • In Pierce County, 1 in 6 black adults were evicted from 2013-2017, compared with 1 in 50 white adults. In King County, 1 in 11 black adults were evicted during that time period, compared with 1 in 100 white adults.
  • 80% to 90% of evictions are due to falling behind on rent, with more than 1/3 of defendants contributing over 80% of their income to rent.
  • Only 8% of defendants had legal representation during the eviction process.

Timothy Thomas co-leads the Neighborhood Change Project, supported by the Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative, which investigates the effects of neighborhood change and segregation on racial and socioeconomic differences in health, housing, migration, and poverty. For more information, read Quantifying Displacement of Seattle and King County Residents.

The Evictions Project is also funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Washington Research Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners.