Delaware Eviction Filings

Data collected by: Dan Bernstein @Legal Services Corporation - Civil Court Data Initiative
Analysis by: Xin (Jennifer) Chen, Julia Greenberg, Hannah Moore, Amit Cohen, Tim Thomas @U.C. Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project & Eviction Research Network

Updated: October 18, 2022

Overview

Evictions have long-term impacts on households' future housing, health, and economic outcomes. Despite local, state, and federal moratoria, over 12,000 renters experienced an eviction filing in Delaware during the pandemic. Overall we found that:

  • The highest eviction filing counts and rates occurred in South Wilmington in mostly Black and racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.
  • Eviction rates fell close to zero in the early months of the pandemic and rose to 50% of historical average through the CDC Moratorium, reaching close to historical average in March and April of 2022.
  • In 2021:
    • 1 in 17 renters experienced an eviction filing (5.8%)
    • 1 in 52 Asian renters experienced an eviction filing (1.9%)
    • 1 in 19 Latine and White renters experienced an eviction filing (5.2% & 5.3%)
    • 1 in 15 Black renters experienced an eviction filing (6.8%)
    • 1 in 10 “Other Group” (mixed-race, Indigenous, and other racial/ethnic groups) renters experienced an eviction filing (9.6%).

In collaboration with the Legal Services Corporation, UC Berkeley’s Eviction Research Network and Urban Displacement Project analyzed eviction filings in the state of Delaware from 2016 to 2021. An eviction filing marks the point at which formal eviction proceedings have begun. Depending on the situation, households may leave anytime prior to a notice to after an eviction lawsuit.

In this analysis, we will show you where and how many evictions were on file both before and during the pandemic. We’ll also show you the racial disparities in Delaware evictions.

To learn more about how we created these maps and plots, and what data we are using, see our methodology page.


moratoria greatly reduced evictions

Cases over time

To filter by county, click on its name once. To zoom in on the plot, click and drag to select the area you wish to zoom in on. To reset the plot, double click anywhere inside of it.

After the first eviction moratorium in March 2020, eviction cases dropped drastically to almost 0 cases for all counties in Delaware. The eviction level remained low until June 2020 where cases steeply increased again to around 500. The cases then gradually increased to over 700 in January 2022 but still remained at a lower level than before the eviction moratorium in March 2020.

The counties in the graph above are ordered by the average number of evictions across the entire time period. New Castle Country had the highest average evictions of any county, and Sussex Country had the least.

Note that data is updated as recent case information becomes available.

The content of this graph is repeated in tabular form in the appendix.

Eviction counts are reaching historical average

PANDEMIC EVICTION CASES VS. HISTORICAL AVERAGE

The graph above compares pandemic eviction rates to pre-pandemic averages. Bars that extend above the dashed line represent months where rates were higher than the historical average for that month, while bars below the dashed line represent months where rates were lower than the historical average for that month.

April 2020 has the lowest historical average at 6 eviction filings and April 2022 has the highest at 716.

Eviction rates dropped from close to historical average before the pandemic to near 0% of historical average in April 2020, which then quickly reached to about 64% below historical average in July 2020 and gradually increased to about 25% below average through the following months. By March 2022, filings are almost at historical average.

Black and "Other Groups" disproportionately evicted

The race and ethnicity of named parties per eviction filing were estimated using their last name and the demographic information of the census tract in which they lived. While our methodology gives good overall estimates, the results may be biased toward the racial majority in the corresponding tracts.

Eviction case rate by race

The graph above shows eviction rates by race and ethnicity and reveals the disproportionate impact evictions have on Black renters in Delaware - the eviction filing rate for these groups is greater than all other groups throughout the entire study period. The total number of renters per census tract by race and ethnicity in Delaware come from the ACS 2016 - 2020 5-year estimates. This value is the denominator of the eviction filing rate, with the numerator being the estimated race and ethnicity of those listed in the case. The eviction filing rate is then the percentage of renters in each group that we estimated to be the defendant of an eviction filing.

The eviction filling rate for all other ethnic groups and Black were consistently higher through 2016 to 2021. Latine and White eviction rates remain similarly throughout the 6 years while Asian eviction rate remains the lowest and the stablest throughout the 6 years comparing to the other ethnic groups.

Asian, Black, Latine, and Other Groups eviction rates compared to White eviction rates

This graph demonstrates the amount by which the estimated eviction rates of Asian, Black, Latine, and "Other Group" renters compare to the estimated eviction rate for White renters. A ratio greater than 1 (dashed line) means that there is a greater eviction filing rate for non-White renters than White renters. A ratio less than 1 means the opposite - there is a lower eviction filing rate for non-White renters than White renters.

The ratios remain relatively steady for all racial groups, with the exception of the “Other Groups”category, which is almost twice that of the white eviction rate and moderately higher than the Black eviction rate. Latine eviction rate fluctuates mildly over and below the 1 ratio line while the Asian to White eviction ratio remains consistently low around 0.2 - 0.3.

Disclaimer

As noted earlier, the demographic information is estimated by combining the probability of someones race or ethnicity based on their surname and informed by the racial composition of the census tract where they lived. The segregation map layer shows quite a large number of mostly white census tracts. This means it would be more likely than not that a mis-classification would estimate ‘White’. Therefore, these graphs are a conservative estimate of the racial disparity in eviction cases.

Also, the use of eviction filings in our data underestimates the real number of households that were forced to leave. Many households leave after a notice and prior to a filing while others may leave if threatened with an eviction before a notice. These latter occasions are considered “illegal evictions.” Alternatively, not all eviction filings lead to a removal as some may work out a deal with their landlord to stay. At this time, these data do not allow us to track these types of moves or stays, however we are constantly working on solutions to try and get at these types of statistics.

Finally, it should be noted that for the purposes of this report, ‘2022’ ends with April 2022. There is still time left for these yearly average rates and ratios to change and trends that are observed now may be quite different by December.

This page will continue to be updated with new data and content. Follow us on twitter @EvictionNet for these updates.

Data table coming soon

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