Sept. 21, 2023
Millions of families in the United States face eviction each year, and yet, the data we rely on to understand evictions is commonly incomplete, inaccurate, and inconsistent. While courts collect and store information related to eviction lawsuits in court records, this information is primarily collected to fulfill an important business need—processing eviction cases, allocating court resources, and monitoring the volume of eviction cases over time.
At the same time, eviction court records contain key pieces of information on who is filing evictions, who is facing evictions, and whether a filing results in the loss of a home. As such, eviction court records are one of the only available means for policymakers, researchers, advocates, and the general public to understand the scope and impact of court-ordered evictions in their communities.
Absent guidance on what eviction-related information courts should collect and how, this data is challenging for non-court entities to use in tracking evictions over time, developing local housing stability and eviction prevention policies, and making cross-jurisdictional comparisons.
Building on a set of eviction data recommendations released in 2021, New America, in collaboration with a coalition of housing and data experts, court staff, and municipal leaders, developed a minimum set of data standards for eviction court records over the course of the last year. These standards include a set of FAQs and recommended data elements and definitions intended to provide guidance for courts and non-court entities on what information related to eviction cases is critical to collect and access.
Organizations that co-sign these data standards include:
- Arizona State University Knowledge for Exchange Resilience
- Princeton University's Eviction Lab
- Georgetown University’s Massive Data Institute
- January Advisors
- National Housing Law Project
- National League of Cities
- NYU Furman Center
- Pew Charitable Trusts
- Stanford Law School's Legal Design Lab
- UNC Greensboro Center for Housing and Community Studies
- Wildfire AZ
This work is made possible through generous funding from The Rockefeller Foundation.