31 Statistics on Homelessness in America

Statistics on Homelessness in America

It is difficult to measure the exact number of homelessness currently in America as different definitions, transition circumstances, and a lack of adequate facilities make it difficult to keep track. It is estimated that there are approximately 2 million people homeless. The toll of the recession was estimate to force an additional 1.5 million into homelessness over a two year period. 19 out of 25 cities surveyed have reported a 12% increase in homelessness.

As majority of rural communities lack any form of adequate shelter and assistance, most homeless are finding ways to live in small quarters with other relatives, live in their cars, or take up residence in tent communities. It is estimated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development that almost 700,000 people in a single night can experience homelessness. 58% are living in shelters and transitional housing while another 42% are unsheltered. One out of every 50 children are homeless.

States with Highest Rate of Homelessness

The following list of states are estimated to experience the highest rate of homelessness.

1. Alaska
2. California
3. Colorado
4. Hawaii
5. Idaho
6. Nevada
7. Oregon
8. Rhode Island
9. Washington State
10. Washington DC

Chronic Homelessness

An estimated 23% of homeless individuals are considered to be chronically homeless. This means they have suffered homelessness for a year or more or have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. The following conditions are also considered to be primary contributors.

- Substance Abuse
- Serious Mental Illness
- Developmental Disability
- Chronic Physical Illness

Greatest Causes of Homelessness

The most common causes of homelessness are found to be the following.

- A lack of affordable housing
- Poverty
- Unemployment

For single individuals additional contributors are considered to be the following.

- Substance abuse
- Lack of affordable housing
- Mental illness

Length of Stay

The average length of stay in an emergency shelter is:
1. 69 days for single men.
2. 51 days for single women.
3. 70 days for families.

The average length of stay in transitional housing is:
1. 175 days for single men.
2. 196 days for single women.
3. 223 days for families.

The average length of stay in permanent supportive housing is:
1. 556 days for single men.
2. 571 days for single women.
3. 604 days for women.

Homeless Veterans

The below video looks at the rates of homeless veterans and lack of national records maintained that accurate depict this growing problem.

The Homelessness of Veterans

Veterans are considered to be more likely than any other population to be homeless. 40% of homeless men are veterans although veterans comprise of only 34% of the general male population. According to research, one any given night 200,000 veterans are homeless.

General Demographics of Homeless People

The following demographics are estimated to suffer from homelessness.

1. Non-Hispanic Whites – 39%
2. African Americans – 42%
3. Hispanic – 13%
4. Native American – 4%
5. Asian – 2%

Health Issues Suffered by Homeless

The following health issues are frequently reported by homeless.

1. Alcohol use problems – 38%
2. Drug use problems – 26%
3. Mental health problems – 39%
4. Substance use and mental health – 66%
5. Have Aids/HIV – 3%
6. Acute health problems such as tuberculosis/pneumonia – 26%
7. Chronic health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer – 46%

Cost of Caring for the Homeless

The below infographic compares the cost of caring for the homeless versus criminalizing them. Jail can become 3 times more costlier than housing programs. It can cost an average of $65 per day to jail an individual versus $30 per day to house an individual.

Cost of Caring for the Homeless