NACCHO Book Club — Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

By Emily Yox, MPH, Global Health Program Analyst, NACCHO

Each month, we will bring you a new public health book, read and reviewed by NACCHO staff. We hope to provide a well-rounded reading list that you will find enjoyable as well as informative.

Our second book recommendation, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, was published in 2017 and written by sociologist Matthew Desmond. Evicted follows eight families as they struggle to find and maintain consistent housing in Milwaukee’s low-income rental market. As the book’s website states: “without a home, everything else falls apart.” Desmond explores both the political and cultural systems that create systemic poverty, the role that housing plays in this system, and the significant social and health effects that directly influence an individual’s ability to thrive.

Evictions used to be a rare occurrence, but they have become much more common in the United States in recent decades, particularly among single mothers. Often, mothers and children are forced to live in homes without reliable water or heat, and with the majority of income being spent on rent, little is left for food or healthcare. While based in Milwaukee, the stories of this book mirror those in cities across the United States.

While not explicitly about public health, this book is an important read for any public health practitioner who wants to dive deeper into social determinants of health, the complex challenges that low-income renters face, and the repercussions that those challenges have in other aspects of their lives.

Evicted is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, among other accolades.

Want to discuss this book and others? Head over to NACCHO’s Virtual Communities page and connect with peers.