February 2010

Poor Black Women Facing Eviction At A Shockingly High Rate

The New York Times has a very distressing article on how poor black women are disproportionately suffering from evictions, as compared to any other demographic in the country.  The article is pinned on a sociological paper which was recently published, which draws out a number of causes for why poor black women are being evicted at a higher rate.  

"Just as incarceration has become typical in the lives of poor black men, eviction has become typical in the lives of poor black women," says the author of the study, sociologist Matthew Desmond.  Black women are more likely to be raising children than black men at the same income bracket.  This is a two-part blow for them financially: if you have children, you need a larger apartment.  And children can be kinda expensive in and of themselves, obviously.

Rental Prices Declining Across the Country

In the wake of all these stories about the mortgage market, and people walking away from their mortgages to save themselves, I wondered what it was doing to the rental market.  

In Seattle at least, I know that the rental market was being seriously squeezed in the years leading up to the housing crash.  I had several friends who were kicked out of their rental apartments because the building was converting to condos for sale.  This was the case all across the city - at one point I read that 80% of Seattle's rental units had been converted to condos, but I don't know if that number was accurate.  (How could they know?)