INDIANAPOLIS – A new analysis of eviction trends in Marion County, Indiana, found significant disparities for minority communities during the past 10 years. The report comes from the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.
From January 2015 through December 2019, Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities in Marion County consistently experienced significantly higher eviction rates. In fact, during the same period, the 15 census tracts with the highest eviction rates in Marion County were all majority-minority tracts.
The research team found that eviction filing levels were mostly steady during 2019 after peaking in the second half of 2018 with nearly 3,000 filings per month. However, eviction moratoriums amid the COVID-19 pandemic did result in a significant decrease in filings in 2020.
Marion County had approximately 2,400 eviction filings each in January and in February of 2020. That number dropped to 995 in March and plummeted to just seven in April. Filings began to slowly rise again in May through July, before quickly jumping nearly to pre-pandemic levels in August as a result of the expiration of federal and state moratoriums. Following the announcement of a subsequent federal moratorium, filings continued in September and October at rates approximately 20 to 40 percent lower than similar periods during previous years.
The CRISP team noted that while the data appears to show that eviction filings only resumed after the initial moratoriums expired, there were also very likely many more evictions that took place outside of the court system. They note that available public data on this subject is incomplete, and only scratches the surface of the true nature of evictions and housing instability. The lack of timely, accurate, and easily accessible data is a substantial challenge for research on housing instability in Marion County.
CRISP researchers point out there is some evidence that a predicted wave of COVID-19 evictions is already building, and if it crashes at any point during 2021, communities of color and those of lower socioeconomic status will likely be the hardest hit in Marion County and around the nation.
In early February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the temporary halt on certain residential evictions through March 31, 2021.