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Michigan Evictions: Assessing Data Sources and Exploring Determinants

The project: Each year, tens of thousands of Michigan households lose their homes as a result of court-ordered evictions, and Michigan cities have some of the highest eviction rates in the nation. The goal of this project is to analyze available data to better understand the prevalence, patterns, and causes of evictions in Michigan, and inform decisions by social services, legal services, and policymakers to address the problem, while also contributing to the growing national research literature on the topic.

The process: Researchers collected statewide case filing data and data from a random sample of eviction case records in Washtenaw and Lenawee counties to understand the prevalence, patterns, and causes of evictions in Michigan, and provide policy recommendations for local courts, municipalities, funders, and state government. Researchers also used a community-based participatory research approach to engage legal aid and housing stakeholders in the research process.

Results: This project found in 2018, the statewide eviction filing rate—that is, the number of filings per rental household—was 17%. This means there was about one eviction case filed for every 6 rental housing units in the state. Only 4.8% of tenants were represented by an attorney in eviction cases filed in 2014-2018, compared to 83.2% of landlords.

A statewide multivariate analysis showed the number of eviction cases filed within a census tract is related to the percent of single mother households, number of mortgage foreclosures, and percent of population living in mobile homes. In urban areas, the number of cases is positively related to additional factors, including the percent African American, percent of the population under 18, and percent of housing units vacant in the census tract

More information: Learn more about the key findings and see the eviction filing rate by county and census tract in Michigan

Robert Goodspeed, U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
Margaret Dewar, U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning University of Michigan
Elizabeth Benton, Michigan Advocacy Program