"Double Precarity": Housing Loss Can Fuel Job Loss

"Double Precarity": Housing Loss Can Fuel Job Loss
Matthew Desmond, Carl Gershenson
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After experiencing a forced move, workers “find themselves in a situation of double precarity: the job and the home both on shaky ground,” according to research by Matthew Desmond and Carl Gershenson in Social Problems. This study examines the correlation between “involuntary housing loss and involuntary job loss,” a topic devoid of research. Using data from the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, the authors study the housing and employment histories of 689 employed renters. Regression analysis on this sample reveals that the disruption caused by a forced move, such as an eviction, increases the likelihood of job loss.

Key findings:

  • Low-income workers are 11 to 22 percentage points more likely to experience job loss after experiencing a forced move compared with those with stable housing.
  • Forced moves increase the likelihood of job loss for stably employed workers and less permanent employees. The correlation between housing instability and job loss is not isolated to people with more inconsistent job histories.
  • The researchers recommend that policymakers promote housing stability to bolster the workforce. Currently, policymakers focus on other strategies, such as increasing wages or improving education.