Analysis by Sam Shaffer
We estimated the number of renters who could be behind on rent by Metropolitan Statistical Area. This is a directional, consulting style methodology aiming to localize eviction risk for decision makers.
We used two baseline sources of data: Week 26 of the Household Pulse Survey and the most recent vintage of the Bureau of Labor Statistics State Area Employment (SAE) data. The Pulse Survey data establishes the number of renters behind by state. The BLS data allows us to differentiate job loss by MSAs within each state during the course of the pandemic, creating a severity factor for economic impact of the pandemic.[i] In short, this consulting-style analysis is assuming a 1-to-1 relationship between job loss and pandemic economic impact. Future models could sharpen this analysis. Second, we set a baseline behind on rent rate, using the three year eviction rate in Colorado from 2014-2016 as published by EvictionLab.[ii] We multiplied this by 2.6, which is the average ratio of eviction filings to eviction risk.[iii] Subsequently, we multiplied this by 2 to represent the number of informal evictions.[iv] Third, we calculated the percentage of people behind on rent by MSA by multiplying the state average of the percentage behind on rent, by the severity factor to identify the percentage change from baseline.
In order to calculate the number of households and number of tenants who might be at risk, we calculated average growth in households from the American Community Survey. Second, we calculated the number of renter households and individuals in each household in each MSA, assuming the growth in each MSA was the state average. The ratio of tenants to households is 2.37 according to the American Community Survey.
[iv] Averaging the rates of formal versus informal evictions from two recent studies. See Desmond, M., et al., “Forced Relocation and Residential Instability among Urban Renters,” Social Science Review, June 2015; Collyer, S., et. al, “Spotlight on Forced Moves and Eviction in New York City,” RobinHood.org, May 2019.