Report analyzes location of evictions in Mecklenburg

The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Mecklenburg County Community Support Services on Tuesday, March 20, released Charlotte-Mecklenburg Evictions Part 2: Mapping Evictions.  

The report is the second of three on the topic and the first time Mecklenburg County eviction data have been mapped at the neighborhood level. The report shows where formal evictions occur, and it links eviction data with Quality of Life Explorer data to explore the characteristics of neighborhoods with high and low rates of evictions.

Click image to download a full copy of the report.

Evictions can be formal or informal. Formal evictions involve a legal process in which landlords try to regain possession of a premises from a tenant. Informal evictions happen outside the court system. Data in the report refer to formal evictions and likely undercount all evictions in Mecklenburg County.

The report maps two parts of the formal eviction process:

  • The location of Mecklenburg County households that are at risk of formal eviction (received a complaint in summary ejectment, a court filing by a landlord).
  • The location of writs of possession served for households to be removed from the premises (households that did not file an appeal or move within 10 days of receiving a magistrate’s judgment that they have been formally evicted).


The analysis of eviction data is organized into three main sections: eviction density, eviction rates and clustering, and neighborhood characteristics. Below is a summary of each section with key findings.


Where in Mecklenburg County are the largest concentration of complaints in summary ejectment and writs of possession served each year and how has this changed over time?

From FY2003 to FY2015, the number of areas where evictions were concentrated increased, and they gradually shifted outward toward the edges of Mecklenburg County. That could be the result of growth, suburbanization generally, suburbanization of poverty, or increased multifamily housing on the edges of the county.

Areas in darker purple have a higher density of evictions as measured by the number of complaints in summary ejectment filed at the county courthouse, the first step in the legal eviction process. Data from Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office

The Mecklenburg County neighborhoods that have been and continue to be most affected by formal evictions are in east, northeast, west and southwest Charlotte.


Which neighborhoods have the highest rates of complaints in summary ejectment and writs of possession served, when we account for underlying housing density? Do neighborhoods with high or low eviction rates tend to cluster near other neighborhoods with high or low rates?

Certain communities and neighborhoods have higher rates of eviction. The lowest rates are found in the south Charlotte “wedge,”  and higher rates are found in the “crescent” areas of north, east and west Charlotte.


What specific neighborhood characteristics are associated with higher or lower rates of evictions? One neighborhood indicator associated with lower rates of households at risk of formal eviction was the presence of development-based subsidized housing, which decreases housing costs.  


The report lets us see a geospatial pattern of evictions in Mecklenburg County in which not all residents have access to the same opportunities for long-term housing stability.

These spatial patterns echo other patterns related to wealth, education, housing and health that reflect a history of discriminatory policies and practices that disproportionately affected households of color and households living in poverty.

Although mapping evictions helps us see the problem better, it also provides insight into possible solutions. Place-based subsidized housing was found to be associated with a lower rate of complaints in summary ejectment, suggesting the role of housing assistance, including subsidies, in stabilizing households and neighborhoods.

To read the full report, click here. To access the toolkit and learn how to convert this information into action, click here.

The third report in the series will analyze a one-month snapshot of eviction court records from Mecklenburg County. The report is part of the Housing Instability and Homelessness Report Series, designed to better equip the community to make data-driven decisions around housing instability and homelessness. The report series was initiated by the Housing Advisory Board of Charlotte-Mecklenburg in 2014. The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute writes the report series. Funding is provided by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. All reports are available by clicking here.

This post is co-written by Ashley Williams Clark and Courtney Morton and is accessible on the  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Dashboard blog.

Courtney Morton is the housing and homelessness research coordinator for Mecklenburg County Community Support Service. Her job is to connect data on housing instability, homelessness and affordable housing with stakeholders in the community so that they can use it to drive policy-making, funding allocation and programmatic change. Mecklenburg County Community Support Services provides funding for the report series.

Ashley Williams Clark is director of outreach and strategic partnerships at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Hers is a new position created to help the institute strengthen its visibility and impact in the Charlotte region through building collaborative partnerships to address important regional issues. She is also the author of the report Charlotte-Mecklenburg Evictions Part 1: Evictions in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.