For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Karen Conner, 202-281-4159, conner@cepr.net

Tracking Evictions and Foreclosures Through Pandemic Finds Large Increases in Housing Insecurity Among Black and Hispanic Renters

WASHINGTON - The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) released today a new report documenting housing and food insecurity during the pandemic with the latest data through December 2020.

Housing Insecurity by Race and Place During the Pandemic, by Julie Yixia CaiShawn Fremstad, and Simran Kalkat, expands on an earlier analysis of housing insecurity during the early months of the pandemic, from late April through July 2020. This report includes additional details on housing and food insecurity in states and in 15 major metropolitan areas.

The period covered in this new analysis includes the implementation of the CARES Act and the first broadly applicable national moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent. Yet, housing insecurity remained very high during this period. While the relief efforts were essential, it is important to remember that housing insecurity was a major problem before the pandemic.

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“Today, most low-income renters and homeowners spend more than half of their income on housing,” noted co-author and economist Cai. “Large-scale, permanent solutions are needed to address these longstanding problems.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Hispanic and Black renters have seen particularly large increases in housing insecurity, with roughly 44 percent of renters in both groups reporting housing insecurity during the pandemic. 
  • One-in-five households in the United States were housing insecure (no or only slight confidence in being able to make their next rent or mortgage payment), on average, each week from late April 2020 through December 2020. 
  • Renters were much more likely than homeowners to experience housing insecurity (about one-in-three renters experienced housing insecurity compared to about one-in-six homeowners).
  • Roughly 42 to 43 percent of Hispanic and Black children were housing insecure each week between April and December 2020, and the racial and ethnic gaps in housing insecurity were wider than at any point from 2017 to 2019. 
  • There is a large geographical variation in housing hardship. The perceived risk of rental eviction was generally higher in the South, when compared to the national average. Southern states generally had very high levels of food insecurity.
  • Among the 15 largest metropolitan areas, Miami and Houston had the highest levels of both housing and food insecurity.

CEPR will continue to document trends in housing insecurity after the most recent relief measures are fully implemented.

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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