How many people are homeless in America?
In this article, you’ll learn about:
Let’s dig in.
Homelessness refers to the state of not having a stable, permanent place to live.
The HUD defines this as people who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
This includes people living in a shelter, in transitional housing.
Or in places not meant for human habitation like streets or cars.
The three types of homelessness in America are:
Chronic homelessness refers to individuals who:
These individuals often have a disabling condition
Temporary homelessness refers to a situation where a person is without stable housing for a short period.
This is often due to a crisis like job loss or domestic violence.
Hidden homelessness refers to situations where people:
This includes people who are:
Last year, the most significant increase in the homeless population was among:
Last year, there were about 582,462 homeless people in the United States.
This was the highest number recorded since data collection began.
Of these individuals, 72% were adults and 28% were part of families with children.
The age breakdown shows that 6.9% of homeless individuals were between the ages of 18 and 24.
Gender is a significant factor in homelessness.
Men made up 68% of the homeless population.
Women, transgender individuals, and those identifying as nonbinary or questioning also had notable representation.
In terms of ethnicity, 50% of the homeless population identified as White.
But it’s important to note that most groups of color experienced higher rates of homelessness.
For instance, 48 out of every 10,000 Black people were homeless, compared to 11 out of every 10,000 White people.
The population of chronically homeless individuals made up 22% of the total.
These are defined as people with disabilities who have experienced long-term or repeated incidents of homelessness,
Veterans accounted for 6%, and unaccompanied youth under 25 made up 5%.
LGBTQ community members experienced particularly high rates of homelessness.
On any given night, about 348,630 people had shelter.
But 40% of the homeless population lived in places not suitable for human habitation, such as:
The majority (51%) of homeless individuals were unsheltered.
And the rate was even higher (62%) among those who were chronically homeless.
Families with children were the least likely to be unsheltered, with 11% living in such conditions.
Here is a brief overview of the states with the highest and lowest rates of homelessness:
|State||Total Homeless||Homeless per 100k||Homeless Households||Veterans||Young Adults|
California has the most homeless people at 161,548.
But New York has the most homeless people per 100,000 residents.
New York has 468 homeless people per 100,000 residents.
California has 415 in comparison.
North Dakota has the least amount of homeless people at 541.
Mississippi has the lowest homeless rate at 38 homeless people per 100,000 residents.
The California homeless population reached 161,548 people last year.
More than two-thirds of these individuals are unsheltered, meaning they sleep:
This is the highest percentage of unsheltered homeless people in any state in the U.S.
Half of the unsheltered homeless people in the U.S. live in California, about 115,500 people.
Looking at the demographics, 36% of homeless people in California are considered “chronically homeless.”
This means they have a disability that significantly impedes their ability to live independently.
And they have been without housing for a consecutive year or on at least four occasions within a three-year period.
The other 64% are categorized as “experiencing short-term homelessness.”
Of the total homeless population, 80% are adults who do not have children.
And an estimated 40% of those are aged 50 and older.
Families with children make up 14% of the homeless population.
And 7% are unaccompanied youth, defined as being under age 25.
A significant contributing factor to homelessness in California is the cost of housing.
There are high levels of poverty and drug addiction in other areas of the U.S. with lower housing costs.
But the homelessness rates are five times higher in West Coast cities like:
California has the second-lowest number of housing units per capita in the U.S.
And there is an estimated shortage of one million homes affordable to the lowest income renters.
Studies suggest that even moderate decreases in rents could lead to significant declines in homelessness.
Read More: How Many Murders Go Unsolved
New York has the second-highest homeless population in the United States, with 91,271 homeless people.
The majority are in New York City, where the number of homeless people reached its highest point since the Great Depression.
However, the last two years have seen a decrease in homelessness, thanks to the creation of safe havens.
These are specialized shelters with a streamlined process for getting people into permanent housing.
As of November 2022, there were 67,150 homeless people in New York City.
The total number of homeless people sleeping in the city’s main municipal shelter system was 75,540.
The number of homeless single adults was 24,378, with 19,399 men and 4,979 women.
Read More: How Many Missing Children Are Never Found?
Let’s dig deeper into what contributes to the US homeless population.
Economic factors contribute to how many people are homeless in America in several ways.
Social factors also contribute significantly to the number of homeless people in the US.
Read More: How Many Guns Does The Average American Own
Health factors greatly contribute to homelessness in America, like.
In addition, lack of access to healthcare can make these situations worse.
Individuals with mental health issues or addiction need proper treatment and support.
Without this help, avoiding or escaping homelessness can be hard.
Mental health issues can make maintaining a job or housing difficult.
Addiction can lead to job loss and financial problems.
Both can result in homelessness.
Lack of healthcare can make these issues worse.
It can intensify the link between these health problems and homelessness.
Let’s look at programs that help reduce how many people are homeless in America.
One key federal initiative is the Housing First program.
This program prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness.
The idea is simple: give people housing first, then address other issues like:
Studies show that Housing First is effective in reducing the number of homeless people in America.
Especially among those with mental health issues or addictions.
Another federal effort is the Continuum of Care (CoC) program.
The CoC provides funding to local groups that help homeless people find housing and offer other supportive services.
This program has helped many people transition out of homelessness.
States and cities also play a big role in addressing homelessness.
In Utah, for example, a state-level version of Housing First has nearly eradicated chronic homelessness.
Cities like Houston and Philadelphia have created coordinated entry systems to manage resources for homeless people more efficiently.
These systems help ensure that the most vulnerable people receive help first.
Read More: How Many People Starve To Death In America
Here are other questions we found about how many people are homeless in America.
Last year, 18 out of every 10,000 people in the US experienced homelessness.
This equates to about 0.18% of the population or roughly 582,462 people.
The city with the most homeless people in the US is the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area in California.
In the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area of California, there are 2,250 homeless individuals.
Given the total population of 273,000, this means that ~0.82% of the population is homeless.
The main cause of homelessness in America is a lack of affordable housing.
Other significant factors include poverty, unemployment, and low wages.
Personal circumstances that can also lead to homelessness are:
It’s important to note that these factors often interact in complex ways.
And a person’s risk of becoming homeless can be influenced by a combination of these issues.