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Study: Atlanta has nation’s third highest eviction rate. What’s up with that?

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Could “eviction crisis” mean the rent is just too damn high?

A graphic showing eviction rates across the U.S.
The data suggest evictions are particularly prevalent in the South and Midwest.
Images via Apartment List

Any Atlantan who’s rented a home or apartment can probably relate to the worry of being just one sprained ankle, debilitating illness, or pink slip away from that dreaded letter from the landlord.

But could a bona fide “evictions crisis” be afoot? In times of general economic prosperity?

The answer is yes, according to rental service Apartment List, which has analyzed 41,000 survey responses to determine where eviction threats are most severe in the United States right now.

The outlook for Atlanta is not so rosy.

Across metro Atlanta, analysts estimate the current eviction rate is 5.7 percent, which is the third highest of the country’s 50 largest metros.

Only Memphis (6.1 percent) and Phoenix (5.9) are higher. Not coincidentally, almost one in five Memphians lives in poverty, per Apartment List’s findings.

More broadly, researchers found that metros with the highest eviction rates are concentrated mostly in the Midwest and South. They wrote:

“We find that the factors most strongly correlated with eviction rates include (1) the rate of foreclosures from 2007 to 2008, during the height of the foreclosure crisis, and (2) current poverty rates.”

Evictions are, of course, a leading cause of homelessness. And poor health in both adults and children has been linked back to evictions.

Interestingly, a handful of California cities with famously high costs of living—San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego among them—all have eviction rates a third or less than Atlanta’s, per the study.