, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1751–1772 | Cite as

Forced Displacement From Rental Housing: Prevalence and Neighborhood Consequences

  • Matthew DesmondEmail author
  • Tracey Shollenberger


Drawing on novel survey data of Milwaukee renters, this study documents the prevalence of involuntary displacement from housing and estimates its consequences for neighborhood selection. More than one in eight Milwaukee renters experienced an eviction or other kind of forced move in the previous two years. Multivariate analyses suggest that renters who experienced a forced move relocate to poorer and higher-crime neighborhoods than those who move under less-demanding circumstances. By providing evidence implying that involuntary displacement is a critical yet overlooked mechanism of neighborhood inequality, this study helps to clarify why some city dwellers live in much worse neighborhoods than their peers.


Neighborhood selection Urban inequality Residential mobility Eviction Displacement 



This research was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, through its “How Housing Matters” initiative. We thank Weihua An, Vicki Been, Rogers Brubaker, Michael Carliner, Jorge De la Roca, Kathryn Edin, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Marion Fourcade, Carl Gershenson, Jack Katz, Barbara Kiviat, Kristin Perkins, Adam Slez, Edward Walker, Bruce Western, and seminar participants at UCLA; Northwestern University; the University of Queensland; the Harvard School of Public Health; the NYU Colloquium on Law, Economics, and Policy; and the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Committee on Degrees in Social StudiesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social PolicyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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