2023 Report - Demographics of Eviction in Dane County

Eviction, despite its prevalence, is a social issue that has a tendency to go undetected. Landlords can quietly and efficiently force tenants to vacate their homes with few signs left behind: a notice taped to a door, an online court record, or furniture abandoned on the curb.

National research has confirmed what eviction experts have long known first-hand: those most at risk of eviction are single-mothers, renters with low-incomes, Black tenants, and children.

Tenant Resource Center data can confirm that research and tell an even more detailed story of our neighbors who faced eviction this past year.

According to a review of 746 EDDP client intakes and CORE applications from 2023 containing demographic information:

  • 51% of tenants who faced eviction were Black, despite making up only 5.8% of Dane County’s population.
  • 10% were Hispanic/Latinx.
  • 58% of tenants were female.
  • The average household facing eviction was “extremely low income” with an area median income of 19%.
  • Roughly half of tenants had no income; excluding those tenants, the average annual household income was $25,936 (Dane County’s area median income is $84,297).
  • The average household size was 2.4 people, with at least 1,468 people facing eviction across 746 cases.
  • 366 children faced eviction in these cases.
  • 131 tenants were single parents.

Eviction is often concentrated at properties where disproportionate numbers of the tenants are in poverty and/or Black. For example, the Meadowlands, a property with troubling management practices that faced scrutiny throughout the year, filed for eviction 51 times in 2023, but TRC demographic data of most of these cases show roughly 70 percent of these tenants were Black.

Tenants facing eviction also are vulnerable to a host of other risk factors for housing instability and homelessness. TRC collects information on income, criminal history, past evictions, family status and housing characteristics to prioritize services for those at highest risk of losing their housing. A review of 1,178 cases from 2023 alone shows that:

  • 577 eviction cases (48%) were against households with incomes 30 percent or less of the area median income.
  • 532 cases (45%) were against households where a tenant had a criminal record.
  • Repeat eviction filings are common: 425 cases (36%) were against households that have faced eviction 1-2 times in the past; 130 cases (11%) were against households that have faced 3 or more evictions in the past; and 293 cases (24%) were against households that have received an eviction judgment in the past.
  • 286 cases (24%) were against households that owed three or more months of past-due rent.
  • 114 cases (9%) were against households living in subsidized housing. An eviction can imperil subsidized housing for tenants, such as Section 8 vouchers.
  • These vulnerabilities overlap. Two-thirds of households had two prioritization risk factors and nearly half of households had three factors. 18 households had six prioritization factors.
  • Only 161 cases (13%) were against households that did not have any additional risk factors that were identified by TRC staff.

While the data collected from programs funded by federal emergency rental assistance programs has greatly increased the amount of information available on these factors, additional investment will be needed in the coming years to continue examining the impacts of housing displacement and eviction in various communities. To address the disparities for those who face eviction, programs must continue to examine data-driven solutions that are responsive to the varying factors different communities face in the issues surrounding housing instability. This may require additional targeting of services, expansion of outreach efforts, redoubling the number of Spanish-speaking staff members within programs, and/or changes to the types of services available.