Evictions in NYC

A stall and a fall

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The Weekly Data:

Through NYC’s open data platform, NYC does report it’s eviction data however. The most import information that the dataset provides beyond the date of eviction is the Zip Code of eviction, which can then be cross-referenced with census data on Zip Code tabulation areas to learn what is the make up of the areas that have the most evictions.

Zip Code tabulation areas are measurements first introduced with the 2000 Zip Codes to create a Zip Code equivalent to tabulate census data for. While nearly the same as Zip Codes, they are not quite the same as zip codes can cross services areas, but the majority of Zip Codes have the same Zip Code tabulation area, so they can be used for analysis.

Through a join, I combined a count of evictions based on the Zip Code with a shapefile of NYC Zip Codes, to be able to visualize eviction data on a map. For example, total evictions per Zip Code in NYC.

Unsurprisingly, many of the Zip Codes are in the poorer parts of the Bronx or Brooklyn. Zip Codes in the South Bronx have less evictions then one would expect, but that can be explained as a factor the spurt of gentrification that has been occurring in the area for the past few years. The historically white neighborhoods in the Bronx such as Riverdale don’t have as many evictions to the more minority neighborhoods in the inner Bronx as another example of this.

The change in evictions in NYC can also be analyzed by quarter and year in which the actual eviction occurred.

The majority of of evictions happen in the 1st & 2nd quarter of the year, with a smaller portion of evictions occurring in the 3rd & 4th quarter. In fact, the top month for evictions is January, with the 2nd and 3rd being February and March, with the months with the lowest amounts of evictions occurring being November December.

Other then the temporary ban in evictions recently extended by New York Governor Cuomo, leading to the lack of eviction data for the year so far, as no evictions are occurring, prior examples of housing law reform have also caused a change in the amount of evictions. Last year, the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 was passed on June 14. This law closed many loopholes in NY’s rent stabilization system, along with providing a expansion in eviction protections to renters in NYC.

As the 2020 data is incomplete given the ban in evictions, a good way to measure the impact of the law is to see the change in evictions between 2018 and 2019, where in the middle of the year the law got passed.

The district that had the largest decline in evictions was 10468 a majority of households renters. Similar many of the Zip Codes that also had large declines in evictions were also in the Bronx. The mean decline across all the Zip Codes was -16 with a overall change in evictions being -3183. Unsurprisingly, the majority of evictions occurred in the Bronx and then Brooklyn, but those boroughs also had the largest decline in evictions, with 952 and 845 fewer evictions occurring in those boroughs in 2019 versus 2018.

Given that Covid-19 has disrupted many peoples livelihoods, the fall in evictions might soon be wiped away as many people get evicted as the fell behind on several months worth of rent. Eviction proceedings unless they get halted again are scheduled to start on July 7th. As there is a backlog of 50,000, while it would take sometime, if all those cases passed, it would be more evictions then each individual year, along with more eviction then 2020, 2019, and 2018 combined.

As outside of NYC evictions begin to be enacted by court systems who may or may not know the actual legality of the eviction, another issue with evictions in NYC will be how many evictions should not have happened, but did happen because someone ignored the temporary new laws on the subject? It will be disappointing if Covid-19 and the resulting economic impact wipes away all the decline in evictions.

Now, some links…

Jessica D. Blankshain and Andrew L. Stigler (Texas National Security Review): Applying Method to Madness: A User’s Guide to Causal Inference in Policy Analysis

When national security practitioners — military and civilian alike — encounter academic social science, often in the context of professional military education, they usually respond in one of two ways. The first is with deep skepticism, sometimes bordering on antagonism: All this academic theory is nice, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the real world where I do my job! Why should I believe this analysis? You can make numbers say anything you want! The second is with uncritical acceptance: I don’t understand the math, but it was published by people with PhDs so it must be true! This theory predicts X, so that’s what will happen, right?

On the other side of the classroom, faculty like ourselves similarly struggle to communicate social science findings and approaches to students who may or may not have the academic training to critically evaluate them. Should we simply not assign any empirical social science or tell our students to “skip the math” and just read the introduction and conclusion? Or should we assume they have graduate-level training in social science methods and proceed with our lessons, ignoring the blank looks that greet us? Or should we do our best to turn our students into full-fledged academics in training?

David b. Danbom (Agricultural History): Romantic Agrarianism in Twentieth-Century America

Agrarianism the celebration of agriculture and rural life for the positive impact thereof on the individual and society is a philosophical perspective that was well articulated in the ancient world. In the United States agrarianism has generally thrived, drawing intellectual sustenance from such figures as Thomas Jefferson, one of our few truly formidable political thinkers, and Henry David Thoreau, one of the giants of American letters.

While all agrarians have much in common, one can certainly make distinctions among them, and one distinction I have found useful is that between "rational" and "romantic" agrarians. Rational agrarians, operating in the tradition of the Physiocrats and Jefferson, stress the tangible contributions agriculture and rural people make to a nation's economic and political well being. Romantic agrarians, following the path trod by Thoreau, emphasize the moral, emotional, and spiritual benefits agriculture and rural life convey to the individual.'

Anyone who pays even cursory attention to any Congressional farm bill debate is well aware that rational agrarianism is alive and well, but its equally vital romantic sibling usually draws less public attention.

Jacob Anbinder (Democracy Journal): The Post-Planning Pandemic

In 1966, an aspiring city planner named Robert Goodman withdrew from his graduate program with a half-finished dissertation and a laundry list of frustrations. Planning, as it was then conceived, seemed too willing to instill in its disciples the notion that they were experts who could be entrusted with effecting progress in “blighted” neighborhoods by applying their superior knowledge of how cities worked. Looking around the Boston area, where such urban renewal projects had already razed the city’s West End and parts of its North End to replace nineteenth-century buildings with new apartment blocks, office towers, and elevated highways, Goodman saw no evidence that this approach had any remaining credibility. In a provocative book titled After the Planners, he argued that ongoing tragedies of urban renewal like the indiscriminate bulldozing of neighborhoods were partly the product of planners’ inflated sense of self-importance. They were hardly the “medicine men” they believed themselves to be, Goodman wrote, but rather mere cogs in capitalism’s violent machinery of creative destruction.

Donald J.Pisani (Cal): The Gold Rush and American Resource Law

The California Gold Rush profoundly influenced the evolution of property law in the American West. In theory, Congress held the public domain in trust for the benefit of all citizens of the United States. In practice, the public lands bought or taken from Indians or other nations now belonged to those Euro-Americans with sufficient wit, energy, zeal, and capital to exploit them. California was the first state admitted to the Union that contained large deposits of precious metals, and its experience set an important precedent: mining on the public domain would be open to all. The national government imposed neither charges nor regulations on the Argonauts who swarmed into California during the late 1840s and 1850s. The miners were trespassers on government land, yet they decided who would be granted access to the gold and under what conditions. They also decided who would be allowed to use the water needed to work the mineral claims, laying the foundation for the le gal doctrine of "prior appropriation," which eventually spread to agriculture with enormous implications for the history of the arid and semi-arid American West.

Laleh Khalili (Lapham’s Quarterly): A World Built on Sand and Oil

Oil and sand are not often commodities conjoined in discussions of global trade. The first is the motive engine of industry and transportation, fuel for heating and illumination, the spirit that animates much global politics. Even when priced cheaply—as I write, the price of oil hovers around fifty dollars per barrel (or just under four hundred dollars per ton)—it is considered precious. Humble, ordinary, oft-overlooked sand is, by contrast, the second most consumed good in the world by volume after water. It makes concrete and glass and electronics possible. According to the UN Environment Programme, at least fifty billion tons of sand (often measured in aggregate with gravel) are used annually, in contrast with four billion tons of oil. But sand is not often thought of as valuable: its trade is more domestic than global, and its market price per ton is under nine dollars in the United States and far less than that in the rest of the world.


I am currently reading the book Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough, which covers the various underground conflicts and movements that happened between various dissident groups versus the federal government in the late 60’s and the 70’s.

I have also been working through Bayesian Methods for Hackers. For a good experience, I suggest doing everything on Google Collab.


Thanks for taking the time to read this, I will be back next soon! In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter or reach out via email.