Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families spend more than half of their income on housing. Eviction has become routine—part of a vicious cycle that deepens our country’s vast inequality. In this lecture, based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Evicted, Matthew Desmond tells the story of eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, Desmond transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem.
Matthew Desmond is Professor of Sociology at Princeton University. He is the author of four books, including Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016), which won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Carnegie Medal, and PEN / John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. Desmond is the principal investigator of The Eviction Lab and his research focuses on poverty in America, city life, housing insecurity, public policy, racial inequality, and ethnography.
This lecture is part of the A New Social Compact? series, sponsored by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, Stanford Continuing Studies, the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, the Department of Sociology, the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and the Program on Urban Studies.