Evicted - Summary and Key Ideas

"Evicted" is a non-fiction book by Matthew Desmond that explores the crisis of housing and eviction in American cities through the lens of eight families in Milwaukee. It delves into the struggles of these families and the systemic issues that contribute to their precarious living situations.

The target group for the book "Evicted" is likely adults interested in social issues, particularly those related to poverty, housing, and economic inequality.

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Key ideas


"Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" illuminates the devastating emotional and societal impacts of eviction.


Eviction, a common occurrence today, triggers a vicious cycle of poverty, health issues, and social instability, a stark contrast to its historical significance during the Depression era.

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Despite the Fair Housing Act, housing segregation persists in American cities, perpetuating cycles of poverty and isolation for minority communities.

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Evictions disrupt community cohesion, leading to increased crime and neighborhood deterioration.

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African-American women face eviction at higher rates due to societal roles and income disparity, leading to a concerning rise in child homelessness.

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Domestic violence victims often fear reporting abuse due to eviction risks, highlighting a systemic issue where laws prioritize nuisance prevention over victim assistance.

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Homes are not just physical structures, but crucial for our identity and security, and addressing homelessness effectively requires a preventative approach.

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The decline in legal aid, particularly for low-income tenants, exacerbates their vulnerability, but investing in it could save cities like New York millions in homeless shelter, welfare, and healthcare costs.

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Expanding housing vouchers could significantly reduce U.S. eviction rates and homelessness, if resources are used more effectively.

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Summary & Review

"Evicted" by Matthew Desmond is a profound exploration of poverty and eviction in America, focusing on eight families in Milwaukee. The book reveals the harsh reality of the American housing crisis, where millions of people are evicted every year, often due to circumstances beyond their control. Desmond argues that eviction is not just a symptom of poverty, but a cause, as it creates instability, destroys communities, and makes it harder for individuals to maintain employment or care for their families. The book concludes with a call for a universal housing voucher program, which would fundamentally change the face of poverty in America.

Matthew Desmond

Matthew Desmond is an American sociologist and urban ethnographer. He is currently a professor at Princeton University, known for his research and teaching on urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity.

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