The main themes of Evicted are the forces that lead to the huge numbers of American families who face eviction each year. The author traces several families who face eviction in Milwaukee.
One of these forces is the stagnation of wages coexisting with the rising cost of housing. As the author writes, "Today, the majority of the poor renting families in America spend over half their income on housing" (4). There is also an industry set up around evictions, including sheriffs with the full-time job of evicting tenants and data companies who sell information about tenants who have been evicted. At the same time, the stock of available housing has fallen. On page 47, the author notes that the vacancy rate in low-cost housing nationwide is in the single digits.
The author traces evictions to the loss of manufacturing and other middle-class jobs in the so-called "Rust Belt" in the Midwest and in other cities around the nation. As the author notes in the section on Lamar, "Milwaukee used to be flush with good jobs" (24), but many of these jobs moved to the Sunbelt, where wages were lower and there were fewer unions. The loss of manufacturing jobs hit urban workers hard, particularly black workers, half of whom had manufacturing jobs (24). Desmond notes that Milwaukee was "the epicenter of deindustrialization" in the 1980s (25).
In addition, the cuts in welfare in the 1990s under President Clinton resulted in very low monthly welfare payments for people like Lamar, who could not work because of a disability. After paying his rent, Lamar had only slightly over $2 to live on per day (25). He could not pay for what his kids need and could not pay his other bills after paying for rent, so he fell behind in his rent and could not catch up.
Segregation and housing discrimination also worsen the problem. On page 33, the author discusses the segregation of Milwaukee's housing, in which the predominately black North Side is divided from the South Side, which is mostly white. Though people protested segregation in housing in the late 1960s, it persists, and poverty is concentrated in the black neighborhoods.
The existential base looks at the way in which trauma, such as poverty, can affect people, particularly children, in social and psychological senses. There is no doubt that the trauma of eviction has existential consequences for the people who are evicted, as it involves the loss of stability and a sense of self. Another other theories that you may apply depend on your course syllabi and what you have covered.