Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality

18 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2020 Last revised: 3 Dec 2020

See all articles by Kathryn M. Leifheit

Kathryn M. Leifheit

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health

Sabriya L. Linton

Johns Hopkins University - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Julia Raifman

Boston University

Gabriel Schwartz

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - Institute for Health Policy Studies

Emily A. Benfer

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Frederick J Zimmerman

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Craig Pollack

Johns Hopkins University - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Date Written: November 30, 2020

Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis has rendered millions of U.S. households unable to pay rent, placing them at risk for eviction. Evictions may accelerate COVID-19 transmission by increasing household crowding and decreasing individuals’ ability to comply with social distancing directives. We leveraged variation in the expiration of eviction moratoriums in U.S. states to test for associations between evictions and COVID-19 incidence and mortality.

Methods: The study included 44 U.S. states that instituted eviction moratoriums., followed from March 13th to September 3rd, 2020. We modeled associations using a difference-in-difference approach with an event study specification. Negative binomial regression models of cases and deaths included fixed effects for state and week and controlled for time-varying indicators of testing, stay-at-home orders, school closures, and mask mandates. We then used model predictions to estimate cumulative cases and deaths associated with expiring eviction moratoriums.

Findings: Twenty-seven states lifted eviction moratoriums during the study period. COVID-19 incidence in states that lifted their moratoriums was 1.6 (95% CI 1.0,2.3) times the incidence of states that maintained their moratoriums at 10 weeks post-lifting and grew to a ratio of 2.1 (CI 1.1,3.9) at ≥16 weeks. Mortality in states that lifted their moratoriums was 1.6 (CI 1.2,2.3) times the mortality of states that maintained their moratoriums at 7 weeks post-lifting and grew to a ratio of 5.4 (CI 3.1,9.3) at ≥16 weeks. These results translate to an estimated 433,700 excess cases (CI 365200,502200) and 10,700 excess deaths (CI 8900,12500) nationally.

Interpretation: Lifting eviction moratoriums was associated with increased COVID-19 incidence and mortality, supporting the public health rationale for use of eviction moratoriums to prevent the spread of COVID-19.



Note: This article has yet to undergo formal peer review and is being released as a preprint due to the time sensitive nature of the research.

Keywords: COVID-19; Pandemic; SARS-CoV-2; housing; health; moratoriums; moratoria; eviction; homelessness; health equity; health justice; health inequity; policy; housing instability

Suggested Citation

Leifheit, Kathryn M. and Linton, Sabriya L. and Raifman, Julia and Schwartz, Gabriel and Benfer, Emily and Zimmerman, Frederick J and Pollack, Craig, Expiring Eviction Moratoriums and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality (November 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3739576 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3739576

Kathryn M. Leifheit (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health

650 Charles E. Young Drive South
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Sabriya L. Linton

Johns Hopkins University - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ( email )

Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

Julia Raifman

Boston University

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Gabriel Schwartz

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - Institute for Health Policy Studies ( email )

3180 18th St., Suite 302
San Francisco, CA 94110
United States

Emily Benfer

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

Frederick J Zimmerman

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Craig Pollack

Johns Hopkins University - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ( email )

Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
United States

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