SSN Commentary

Evictions Matter for Neighborhood Health

Policy field

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University of Memphis

Originally published as "Evictions Matter for Neighborhood Health," Public Health Post, June 24, 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic created an eviction crisis and highlighted the connection between evictions and health. Yet housing insecurity is a longstanding public health challenge. This is particularly true in Memphis, Tennessee, which was deemed the eviction capital of the United States in 2017. Before the pandemic, nearly 1 in 5 renters in Memphis had an eviction filed against them. Between 2016 and 2019, an average of 31,633 evictions were filed every year.

Being evicted and the threat of eviction are associated with a host of negative physical and mental health outcomes ranging from poor self-rated healthpoor birth outcomes, and increased emergency room use. These risks are not equally spread throughout society. Black communities and households with children face a particularly high risk of eviction.