Foreclosures Versus Student Enrollment II

There is at least one glitch in the comprehensive municipality-by-municipality data that the Projo has been providing on foreclosures. According to a John Castellucci story that appeared in the April 15 Projo, there were 108 foreclosures in Pawtucket between January and mid-March of 2008 and 172 in all of 2007. That calls into question the completeness of the Projo’s 2007 to 2008 Q1 comparison chart, where figures of only 5 foreclosures in Q1 of 2007 and 1 in Q1 2008 are quoted for Pawtucket.

I can’t find any “official” data on the web for municipal level data for 2008, but there are a number of websites that give city-by-city listings of foreclosed properties for sale.

Yahoo has a real-estate site that lists foreclosed properties with the dates they were listed. Here’s the number of foreclosure listings I retrieved last night…

Central Falls14(June 10 – August 15)
Cranston142(June 10 – August 19)
Pawtucket99(June 10 – August 19)
Providence741(June 10 – August 21) breaks its listings into “foreclosure” and “pre-foreclosure” categories…

Central FallsForeclosure:21Pre-foreclosure:4

And the site that Ken suggested,, divides its foreclosure listing into “Auction” and “Bank-Owned” categories; the bank owned includes listings originally from 2007. The totals in the two categories are…

Central Falls30

The numbers in these other estimates are consistent with the Castellucci story for Pawtucket and roughly consistent with the other Projo-reported estimates for Central Falls/Cranston/Providence.

So, if as Matt Jerzyk postulates, the drop in student enrollment is directly related to foreclosures, then…

  1. The drop in in Providence should be 25 to 50 times bigger than the drop in Central Falls…
    • …but it’s not. The decline in Central Falls was about 450 students, the decline in Providence, about 1,700 students, a factor of about 4.
  2. The drop in Cranston should be 5 to 10 times bigger than the drop in Central Falls…
    • …but it’s not. The drop in Central Falls is more than 5 times larger than the drop in Cranston.

If Mr. Jerzyk is sitting on some data source that he’s not telling anyone about, now is the time to release it. If not, then someone should be looking into the exact nature of the reverse-redlining that was apparently going on in Providence, because if the problem was only unscrupulous salesmanship, it is unlikely that Providence would be affected so much more disproportionately on a per-capita basis than Pawtucket or Central Falls. Is it possible that lending rules were being relaxed, even further than in other places, for housing with Providence zip-codes? If so, at what level in the mortgage process was that decision made?

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Matt Jerzyk
15 years ago

Andrew –
As I am sure you are aware, Providence and Cranston are big cities!
And each of these cities has neighborhoods that have experienced more and less foreclosures.
Thus, while the handful of schools in Central Falls are seeing massive under-enrollment, Providence doesn’t have the same sea-change because of the stability of neighborhoods like Elmhurst and the East Side.
Would enrollment numbers compare for low-income neighborhoods in Cranston, Providence and Central Falls and their corresponding local schools if you overlayed foreclosure data?
You bet!
Unfortunately, Andrew hasn’t been able to provide us with the data to do this simple analysis.
Of course, you could just do what many researchers do – which is what I am doing during this political campaign – and that is ASK PEOPLE.
Ask people where their neighbors went. Ask them why they left. Ask them where they live now.
Novel concept, I know!!!

15 years ago

Matt is right. What this analysis needs is more anecdotes. Second-hand if possible.

15 years ago

“Would enrollment numbers compare for low-income neighborhoods in Cranston, Providence and Central Falls and their corresponding local schools if you overlayed foreclosure data?”
Go for it, Matt. It’s your hypothesis.
In the meantime, “all” we can do is look at available data: aggregate foreclosure and enrollment numbers for cities as a whole; i.e., what Andrew did at considerable length.
On that basis, there appears to be no link.

Justin Katz
15 years ago

Don’t worry, Andrew. Matt’s just trying to be the first one out of the gate with a political talking point. He’s holding his cards close to the vest because he doesn’t have an analytical point to make; he’s trying to manufacture an impression that the left-wing/unionist policies that are pulling RI down the toilet might not be to blame for doing just that (if only we hope and wish enough, like reviving Tinkerbell).
Are some percentage of disappearing students due to homes lost in foreclosure? Almost definitely. That fact tells us nothing, and the fact that the “right-wing triumvirate” of the governor, talk radio, and Anchor Rising (glad to be included in that list) haven’t been running around feeling the pain of the foreclosed tells us only that we believe the higher-than-national foreclosure rate ’round here to be a symptom, not a cause.
Those who are hypnotized by Jerzyk’s bobbing and weaving are probably not apt or inclined to follow sober analysis anyway. And they’ll probably fall for the scapegoat of “tax cuts for the rich (that weren’t in force until too late to have been a substantial factor)” when that next step is finally offered by the coy Mr. Jerzyk.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
15 years ago

Matt is just having the jitters.He is going to be on the bloggers’ equivalent of American Idol out in Denver,after all.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
15 years ago

Matt is just having the jitters.He is going to be on the bloggers’ equivalent of American Idol out in Denver,after all.

George Elbow
George Elbow
15 years ago

I’m still struggling to grasp the point that Mr. Jerkyz is trying to make.
Even if 100% of the decline in enrollment was due to foreclosures, so the F’ what.
If his implication is that Governor Carceiri caused the foreclosure “crisis”, then he needs to explain how the Gov did that, at the very least so that the Gov can repeat the process (see last paragraph of this post for reason why).
Those that are foreclosed on are, for the most part, those that foolishly overextened themselves. They are of the Union mentality …that ilk that believes they are Entitled, whether they have earned it or not, whether then can afford it or not.
Sadly, reality eventually catches up to those that go thru life with an Entitlement mentality. Don’t believe me? Just ask a whiny Council 94 member.
Also, make no mistake, the foreclosures were hastened by the ridiculously high Taxes that home owners pay to support the flocks of Mr. Jerkzy & Co.
But alas, who gives a rat’s ass why the enrollment is down. Stop analyzing it and get on with eliminating the excess Union Teaching capacity that has resulted from the declines in enrollment.
Hell, I’d love someone to demonstrate that the Gov. was somehow responsible for the decline in enrollment. He could wear it as a badge of honor.
Not only did he rid our schools of the less desirable crowd (Matty should really be able to sink his teeth into that comment), but he also helped reduce the number of Public-tit sucking Union Teachers as a result of the lower enrollment. That’s what we call an an old fashioned “two-fer”.

15 years ago

The plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” That being said I will offer my anecdote.
When all of these homes foreclose, where do the kids go? Are they all huddled under a bridge somewhere? There should be a corresponding rise in enrollment somewhere else. Like here where I am, in NC.
My family, my $100k salary and I left Coventry in spring 2007. I had a professional opportunity here in Raleigh, and besides it is closer to family. Now 18 moths later, we miss RI and want to come home.
Rhode Islanders, please get your government spending (state and local) under control so businesses and jobs will again exist in RI and I can get a job there and buy your house.
7.7%? Seriously? At what point is it obvious?

15 years ago

Where’s the data that suggests that the foreclosures are a result of people being victums of predatory lending and not from their own doing by taking out the equity in their homes and finding themselves in upside down mortgages. If I had a nickle for every time I was told how foolish I was for paying down my mortgage instead of having extra money to spend on things that I really don’t need.

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