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Only 5% of Arizonans are Black, but they make up nearly 1 in 3 eviction filings

By: - October 12, 2023 4:18 pm

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A new report highlights the racial disparities in evictions and reveals that Black Arizonans face eviction at a higher rate than their counterparts. 

Arizona, and the nation, has been seeing a spike in the number of evictions the past few months. The Grand Canyon State has broken records related to the number of eviction filings the past few months with no sign of slowing down. 

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A newly released report by Eviction Lab examining Census and eviction data sheds new light on possible racial disparities within the process. The group partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to conduct the analysis. 

In Arizona, only about 5.5% of the population is Black. But Black people make up 28% of evictions and 31% of eviction filings. Nationally, Black Americans make up for 18.6% of the renting population but account for 51% of all eviction filings and 43% of those evicted, Eviction Lab found

Meanwhile, white people make up 81% of Arizona’s population, but ust 8% of all eviction filings and 7% of all evictions. 

According to Census data, renters spent more on rent in 2021 than the previous years and nearly half of all renters were considered “cost burdened,” meaning that a household spends more than 30% of its income on rent. Approximately a quarter of all renters are “severely cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than 50% on rent. 

Coconino County has the highest rent-to-income ratio of anywhere in the state, with the median household spending 33% of its income on rent, according to the most recent Census data. Pima and Maricopa counties were close behind, with ratios of 30 and 29%, respectively. Eleven of the state’s 15 counties have ratios above 25%. 

Eviction Lab also delved into how many children are impacted by evictions. 

The report found that people living with children were at a higher risk of eviction than their childless counterparts. 

“Adult renters living with at least one child in their home were threatened with eviction at an annual rate of 10.4%, compared to 5.0% for those without children,” the report says. “Overall, our estimates indicate that, between 2007 and 2016, roughly one in five Black adult renters were living in a household filed against for eviction and roughly one in ten were evicted each year.” 

Arizona ranked 14 in the number of households with children present that faced eviction. Black families with children faced a higher risk of eviction than their contemporaries.

Evictions in other parts of the country have been found to be racially charged, and stories have been emerging about the racial disparities in the process.  

Arizona continues to see a rise in evictions, with September seeing the second highest number ever of eviction filings in Maricopa County. Last month was just the latest in a string of record-breaking eviction filings in the county, with July seeing the most filings since 2008 — even as Arizona suffered through record-breaking heat

Since 2000, the average number of eviction filings for the month of September is around 6,104. This year, Maricopa County saw a 27% increase, with 7,809 eviction filings for the month. 

That follows the general trend of 2023, in which each month has seen between a 16% and 26% increase over the average number of filings. 

Evictions in Arizona can move at a lightning fast pace, often taking between one and six weeks.

Not all eviction filings lead to a tenant being thrown out; up to one in three will be dismissed when tenants choose to pay and stay or the landlord does not pursue any court resolution, according to Maricopa County Justice Courts. 

As evictions increase, another statistic has also been on the rise. 

Homelessness in Arizona increased by 21% from 2020 to 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It has led the federal government to give additional aid to Phoenix due to the increase. 

If you or a loved one is experiencing a crisis with an eviction, you can visit AzEvictionHelp.org or Community Legal Services for resources and assistance.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joined the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

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