Racial Disparities in Eviction Rates During COVID-19

The Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs has taken the opportunity to study issues of eviction in our state. The research team – composed of Dr. Joél Arvizo-Zavala, Taysha Tiatia, and Ramy Ahmed – worked with data from the Utah State Courts and the U.S. Census to understand whether or not evictions are disproportionately impacting Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in Utah. Using a cohort study approach, comparing an eight month period in 2019 to 2020, the team found that disparities in evictions do exist with a significant number of evictions (over 80%) occurring in zip codes that are predominately BIPOC. Additionally, and with the state/federal moratoriums on evictions due to COVID-19, the research team also sought to better understand how moratoriums impacted evictions in BIPOC communities as well. The research team was able to show that despite moratoriums reducing the number of evictions in Utah during the year 2020, the disparity of evictions persisted in BIPOC communities.

The research team is also taking an intersectional approach to this work and has gathered data on gender, income, and other demographic indicators to add depth to the analysis. One initial finding is that evictions seem to be particularly high for the demographic group of BIPOC women. The trends discussed thus far are in alignment with previous research on evictions and the disproportionate impact on BIPOC communities and BIPOC women.

The 2019 and 2020 eviction maps show each of the zip codes (where an eviction filing originated) and visualizes them with additional information. Two areas are of particular importance. One, the map shows the rate of eviction for each zip code. Keep in mind that the state eviction rate (during the time of the study) was 1.36% in 2019 and 1.04% in 2020 and there are many zip codes that have an eviction rate much higher than the state average. Two, an indicator of disparity is also shown on the map. Disparity occurs when the proportion of evictions is greater than 1.0 (which is the state baseline). Therefore, for any zip code that has a disparity number greater than 1.0 disparity exists in that zip code when compared to the state as a whole. For the purposes of this study, racial-ethnic disparity was the primary focus.

2019 Eviction Rates in Utah
2020 Eviction Rates in Utah

The research team would like to thank the Asha Parekh, the Chair of the Housing & Social Services Workgroup and the rest of the workgroup for their leadership and review of this work, Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, the Utah COVID-19 Multicultural Advisory Committee, the Utah State Courts, the ACLU of Utah and Sofia Nystoem from the Commission on Criminal & Juvenile Justice for their collaboration and support on this project. Any questions regarding the project can be directed to the principal investigator, Joél Arvizo-Zavala (joelarvizo@utah.gov).

For the complete data and maps, please visit: https://bit.ly/utahevictionrates