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Death rates surged for renters facing eviction during COVID

The rent is too high. And according to new research, it can also be deadly.

In fact, a new study found that housing insecurity increased mortality rates among renters during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic. The threat of eviction is always stressful, but for tenants who have had to deal with the threat of eviction in the midst of COVID-19, chronic stress becomes a visible and deadly threat. That was one possible factor.

Published on Tuesday A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Examining Excess Mortality During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Rental Housing Under Threat of Eviction,” found a correlation between the risk of death and receiving an eviction filing during the pandemic. points out the relationship.

The authors looked at 282,000 tenants who received eviction filings from the beginning of January 2020 to the end of August 2021 and observed that the mortality rate was 106% higher than expected.

In other words, the risk of death for renters facing eviction was 2.6 times higher than the general population and much higher than the 2010-2016 base period the authors found (1.4 times higher than the general population). .

Notably, while mortality rates were elevated for all renters at this time, mortality rates for the general population were much lower and only slightly higher than normal. The report analyzed trends in eviction filings in 36 courts covering approximately 400 U.S. counties, meaning these findings are not representative of the nation as a whole. .


Although evictions were suspended at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the study found that the situation would have been much worse had the measures not been implemented. Getty Images

Studying the eviction coronavirus
Housing advocates protest in 2021. AP

Therefore, the authors speculated that “housing instability, as measured by eviction filings, was associated with a significantly increased risk of death during the first 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The study notes that the fact that eviction filings fell by almost half (45%) during this period likely helped prevent excess mortality from rising further during this period. But the harsh reality of the findings is that the average renter who was threatened with eviction during this period was only 36 years old.

It’s well established that shelter is an important fact for human well-being, but “the pandemic has really highlighted how important housing is to health and public health,” said study lead author Nick. Graetz said. told CNN.

Graetz, who is also a researcher at Princeton University’s Eviction Research Institute, added that while the coronavirus threat may be subsiding, the enduring problem of the current housing affordability crisis is not.

“As we emerge from perhaps the most intense period of coronavirus spread and mortality, we are returning to a normalcy that was already unsustainable, and the situation is only getting worse,” Graetz said. “Rent burdens are at an all-time high, and eviction filings are now rising again and above historical averages.”

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