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Displacement in San Mateo County, California: Consequences for Housing, Neighborhoods, Quality of Life, and Health

  • Author(s): Marcus, Justine
  • Zuk, Miriam
  • et al.
Abstract

In metropolitan regions across the country, residents face constrained, expensive housing markets and rising income inequality. Middle- and high-income households are beginning to seek more affordable housing in accessible neighborhoods with traditionally lower rents and proximity to jobs and transportation. Many low-income households are simply unable to secure affordable rents. As neighborhoods change and housing demand shifts, landlords are presented with a new set of financial prospects. Displacement and evictions are central components of this changing landscape, altering the geography of race and class across regions. Recent studies have found a spike in evictions in San Mateo County, disproportionately affecting people of color.

There is relatively little research on the impacts of displacement on households, individuals, and communities. Existing research has shown that evictions negatively affect the health, quality of life, and economic outlook for households, often with long-term consequences. This study contributes to this small but growing body of research, with results specific to local Bay Area conditions. We assess the relationship between displacement and housing costs and quality, commutes, neighborhood location and quality, mental and physical health, and healthcare access. We completed in-depth phone surveys with 100 primarily low-income tenants who received services from Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA), which serves low-income communities in San Mateo County. Survey respondents live in and/or were displaced from San Mateo County communities. These surveys provide a window into the consequences of displacement for households in the San Francisco Bay Area, with implications for researchers and policymakers both locally and across the nation.

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