Who’s affected by housing displacement?

Race, income and life cycle play a role in why we move

A quarter of the households who moved within the region in the last five years relocated because of factors like the cost of housing, lower income, loss of community, or being forced to move. Housing cost was by far the main reason.

That’s no surprise to anyone who’s skimmed real estate ads over the last few years.

But there hasn’t been much data in the past to help us understand who is being displaced.

PSRC added a question to the 2019 Household Travel Survey asking why people relocate in the four-county region. The responses shed light on how big a problem displacement is for households of different races, income levels and life cycles.

Displacement by race

One in five white households (22%) felt pressured to leave their homes, as did 14% of Asian households. But nearly one in three (30%) Other People of Color households moved elsewhere because they had to.

PSRC used three broad racial groups for this analysis. Since racial categories other than white and Asian were too small in the survey data to appropriately reflect the region’s population, we grouped them under Other People of Color. This includes African Americans, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanics, multiracial groups, etc. More detail is available in our technical note.

Although, households in the Other People of Color category could not be reported out individually, the different groups within this category appeared to have similar rates of displacement.

Differences by income

Lower-income households were much more likely than wealthier ones to be forced to move.

A whopping 50% of households with incomes under $25,000 had to move for negative reasons. At the other end of the spectrum, the wealthiest households felt the least pressure to find new homes; only 5% of those earning $150,000 or more annually had to relocate for reasons beyond their control.

Households at other income levels fell somewhere between those extremes. About a third of those in the $25,000 to $99,999 range moved for negative reasons, while 16% of those in the second-highest highest income bracket were forced to seek new housing.

Although their sample sizes were too small to report, we found that the non-white households with the lowest incomes (under $25,000) experienced more displacement than white households in the same income range.

Impacts by life cycle

Displacement hit households with seniors harder.

About one in three households with someone over 65 had a negative reason for leaving their previous residence. For all other households, it was around one in four.

We could not report on the race of households by life cycle because of small sample sizes. But when we combined the Younger Adults and Older Adults households, Asian households had a lower proportion of displacement than Other People of Color households. We also found that all People of Color households with children had a greater rate of displacement than white households with children.

A total of 3,044 households took part in the 2019 Household Travel Survey.

The data on movers here represents a regionwide total of 637,710 households that moved within the last five years. Our analysis of the survey data shows that almost 163,000 households (26%) relocated due to one or more displacement factors.

View more 2019 survey data at psrc.org/household-travel-survey-program.