The Geography of Eviction in Richmond: Beyond Poverty

The Geography of Evictions in Richmond: Beyond Poverty

Benjamin F. Teresa, PhD

RVA Eviction Lab

The most common reason landlords evict tenants is for not paying rent. At first glance, it may seem logical to assume that poverty—simply not having enough money to make rent—is the underlying cause of eviction. However, households face various kinds of displacement pressure that ultimately causes them to be unable to afford rent, many other less common reasons for eviction, and involuntary displacement that occurs outside of the formal, legal eviction process. This report focuses on the relationship between eviction and urban geography in the City of Richmond in order to begin to unravel the different causes of eviction and how they are distributed across the city. The report examines neighborhood-level eviction data and what factors have measurable effects on the eviction rate.The analysis shows that:

• Neighborhood racial composition is a significant factor in determining eviction rates, even after controlling for income, property value, and other characteristics.

• As the share of the African American population increases, the eviction rate increases.

• As the share of non-Hispanic Whites increases, the eviction rate decreases.

• Demographic and housing market characteristics do not explain why high and low eviction rates are concentrated in certain parts of the city, suggesting that other factors such as rental housing ownership, financing, and property management strategies may play an important role in eviction.