21 Dreadful Homelessness Statistics & Facts
Homelessness is defined as the lack of safe and permanent housing and the inability of immediately acquiring it. Having a home is necessary for survival, and homelessness indicates a community’s failure to provide fundamental security to its members.
On this page, we have collated some of the most prominent homelessness statistics and facts In an effort to shine a light on this critical and persistent global problem.
With COVID-19 still posing a threat, homelessness around the world is expected to rise, so now more than ever is the time to double up on our efforts in finding solutions.
Homeless People Statistics (Editor’s Picks)
- As of January 2019, 0.17% of the U.S. population is homeless.
- An estimated 35% of the homeless in America are unsheltered.
- Between 2019 and 2010, there has been a 10.9% decrease in American homelessness.
- The American homeless population is predominantly males.
- In the United States, veterans make up 6.53% of the overall homelessness statistics.
- Washington, D.C. has the highest homelessness rate in the United States.
- Mississippi is the state with the lowest homeless rate.
- Individuals under age 18 comprise 18.86% of the total American homeless population.
- An estimated 2% of the world’s population is considered homeless.
- New Zealand has the highest homelessness rate among OECD countries.
Global Homelessness Statistics
1. An estimated 2% of the world’s population is considered homeless.
That’s an estimated 150 million individuals. However, it’s perceived that 20% of the world’s population or 1.6 billion people actually don’t have access to adequate and proper housing.
It’s challenging to get an accurate number of how many people are homeless in the world due to varying definitions of homelessness across countries. This is because homelessness is basically defined culturally.
2. Japan has the least homelessness rate among OECD countries.
In 2019, there were 4,555 homeless individuals in Japan, making up only 0.004% of its overall population.
These statistics of homelessness only include individuals who live in areas not normally lived in by humans, such as roads, parks, riverbeds, stations, and others, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan.
3. New Zealand has the highest homelessness rate among OECD countries.
In 2013, the number of homeless individuals in New Zealand totaled 41,207, making up 0.94% of its overall population.
This is partly due to the country’s broader definition of homelessness, which includes individuals without shelter, in temporary living situations, living in another household, or residing in uninhabitable areas.
Homelessness in America Statistics 2019
4. As of January 2019, 0.17% of the U.S. population is homeless.
This means that there are 17 out of 10,000 individuals who are homeless. To get a clearer picture of how many people are homeless in America, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development conducts an annual PIT (Point-in-Time) Count and as of January 2019, they counted 567,715 homeless individuals.
5. Between 2010 and 2019, there has been a 10.9% decrease in American homelessness.
In 2010, 637,077 individuals were counted as homeless. Over the course of 10 years, the number of homeless individuals in the United States decreased by 69,362.
However, the 2018 statistics on homelessness in America also show a 2.7% increase in homelessness from 2018 to 2019, so a lot of effort is still required.
6. Only 10% of American counties have full-time average-wage earners who can afford to rent a small two-bedroom home.
Lack of affordable housing and insufficient income are among the primary causes of homelessness in America.
An average-wage worker earning $7.25 per hour will have to work 127 hours weekly in order to make rent for a decent two-bedroom home. To afford a one-bedroom home, that same worker will have to work 103 hours weekly.
7. An estimated 35% of the homeless in America are unsheltered.
This means that nearly 200,000 homeless individuals are unsheltered. What unsheltered pertains to in homelessness in America statistics are homeless individuals who live in stations, roads, parks, abandoned buildings, or other places that are not considered safe and appropriate for human habitation.
On the other hand, 65% are considered sheltered or living in temporary homes and other homeless shelters.
8. Males make up 60% of the homeless demographics in the United States.
(HUD Exchange, NAEH)
This totals to 343,187 homeless males compared to 219,911 homeless females. Additionally, there are 3,255 homeless transgenders and 1,362 gender non-conforming homeless individuals.
Although there is a disparity in these statistics on homelessness, the fact remains that homelessness is a gender-neutral problem.
9. Individuals who live on their own or with other adults make up 70% of the homeless population.
That totals to 396,045 individuals, of which 49.6% are unsheltered, meaning that they either sleep outside or in areas that are not ideal for humans to inhabit.
10. Families with children make up 30% of US homelessness statistics.
This percentage translates to 171,670 homeless individuals who belong in families with children. Of this, 14,779 are unsheltered. Of all the homeless subpopulations, individuals in families with children have the highest percentage of sheltered individuals at roughly 91%.
11. Pacific Islanders are most likely to end up homeless than other racial or ethnic groups.
Around 160 per 10,000 Pacific Islanders are homeless in the United States.
This is a huge challenge in reducing homelessness in the US, considering that the national average is only 17 per 10,000 individuals. Native Americans come second to Pacific Islanders, with roughly 66 per 10,000 individuals being counted as homeless.
Both groups are considerably statistically small in the United States, which makes it harder for the homelessness services systems and the U.S. Census Bureau to count them accurately.
12. Of the overall national homelessness statistics, veterans make up 6.53%.
This translates to 37,085 veterans being homeless, with 14,345 of them being unsheltered or living in areas that aren’t habituated by humans.
On the bright side, veteran homelessness statistics show a 2.1% decline from 2018 to 2019. To top it off, the past 10 years have seen a nearly 50% decline in the number of homeless veterans.
13. Individuals under age 18 comprise 18.86% of the total homeless population in America.
That corresponds to a total of 107,069 individuals. The youth homelessness statistics released by the HUD Exchange shows that New York has the highest number with a count of 28,985. Wyoming has the lowest number, with a count of 81 homeless individuals under 18.
14. Young adults aged 18 to 24 make up 8.04% of the total American homelessness statistics.
This equals to 45,629 homeless young adults. Of the states, California has the highest number of this homeless group, with a count of 12,673 individuals. On the other hand, Rhode Island has the least number, with only 39 homeless young adults.
Homeless Statistics By State
15. Washington, D.C. has the highest homelessness rate in the United States.
It was estimated that 94 out of 10,000 individuals were found homeless, making it twice the national homelessness average.
To better understand the homelessness issue in America, the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness conducted an annual Point-in-Time count on January 23, 2019 and found that 6,521 individuals were homeless in Washington, D.C.
A closer look at these homelessness statistics will show you that of these individuals, 4,679 were in emergency shelters, 1,234 were in transitional housing programs, and 608 were found unsheltered.
16. Washington, D.C. has seen a 5.5% decrease in homeless rate since 2018.
This decrease in homeless statistics is largely due to the decline in the number of homeless families. It is down by 12% since the PIT count in 2018 and by 45% since the PIT count in 2016.
17. Mississippi has the lowest homeless rate by state.
Of 10,000 individuals, an average of four was counted homeless. The Continuums of Care reported to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that 1,184 individuals experienced homelessness in Mississippi as of January 2019. Out of this total number of homeless people, there were 223 chronically homeless individuals, 72 veterans, 69 family households, and 56 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.
18. California’s homeless population makes up 26.73% of the overall homelessness in the United States.
(Business Insider, USICH)
This is in spite of the fact that the homeless percentage in the state only makes up 0.4% of its population. In 2019, 151,278 individuals in California were counted as homeless. This large number is highly attributed to the fact that the state is home to four out of 10 cities with the highest homeless people statistics — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.
19. From 2017 to 2019, there has been a 30% increase in the homeless population in San Francisco.
The city’s homelessness crisis is considered to be the most severe by far in the issue of homelessness in America. Leilani Farha, a special rapporteur of the United Nations, considered it a violation of human rights. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the homeless rate has seen a 12% increase over the last two years.
20. Wyoming has the least homeless percentage by state.
In 2019, only 548 homeless individuals were counted in the state. Conforming to the national demographics, 376 of these homeless individuals are males. There has also been a 14.2% decline in homelessness from 2018 to 2019. In 2018, there were 639 homeless individuals in Wyoming.
21. Connecticut had the highest decrease in homeless population by state from 2018 to 2019.
Connecticut had a 23.7% decrease in homelessness from 2018 to 2019. However, when looking at homeless rates over the past 10 years, Mississippi had the highest reduction of homelessness at 57.7% from 2009 to 2019.
Homelessness is a problem that we can solve and prevent, albeit being a challenging one due to varying definitions across the globe. Poverty is also a driving force in making homelessness worse.
However, looking at stats on homeless people, it is a great way to start as it helps us get a clearer picture of the situation and therefore helps us come up with better solutions to this worldwide problem.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What percentage of the US population is homeless?
During the last Annual PIT (Point-in-Time) Count conducted by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were a total of 567,715 homeless people in the United States. This means that there are 17 homeless individuals per 10,000 people and that 0.17% of the US population is homeless.
According to homelessness statistics in America from 2018 to 2019, there has been an additional 14,885 homeless individuals, which is a 2.7% increase in one year. On the bright side, the numbers have also declined by 12.3% from 2007 to 2019.
What percent of the world is homeless?
According to YaleGlobal, an estimated 2% of the world’s population is considered homeless. It may not look like much, but that’s actually 150 million individuals, 24.4 million of which are from Nigeria. However, it’s estimated that 20% of the world’s population or 1.6 billion individuals do not have access to safe and adequate housing.
Due to variations in the methodologies and definition of homelessness across countries, it can be challenging to get accurate the homelessness statistics worldwide. Homelessness is defined culturally and can vary from the absence of a secure and permanent housing that provides identity and emotional wellbeing to sleeping in locations that are deemed inhabitable for humans, such as roads, stations, and other public areas.
What population is most affected by homelessness?
When looking at the cross-section of the American homelessness, you can see that the male population is more likely to end up homeless than others. In 2019, there were 343,187 homeless male individuals, which makes up 60% of the total homeless people in America.
Individuals who live on their own or with other adults are also affected as they make up 70% of the total homeless population in the United States. Among all racial and ethnic groups, the Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are also most likely to end up homeless.
What country has the most homeless?
According to the 2007 Global Trends published by the UNHCR, Nigeria has the highest homelessness rate, with an estimated 24.4 million. A lot of factors contribute to this dishearteningly high number, including poverty caused by rapid urbanization.
In 2018, natural disasters caused the displacement of 613,000 individuals, and war and violence caused another 541,000 individuals to be displaced. In Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, an estimated 70% of the population reside in informal housing.
Where is homelessness the worst in the US?
Although the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., has the highest rate of homelessness, California has the highest number of homeless individuals. The 151,278 homeless individuals in the state make up 26.73% of the overall homeless population in the United States.
Looking at the homeless rates by state will also tell you that homelessness in California has increased by 16.4% from 2018 to 2019. In 2018, there were 129,972 homeless individuals. Four cities in California are listed in the top 10 highest homelessness rates in the country, namely Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose.
What is the number one cause of homelessness?
Although various factors cause homelessness worldwide, some factors do stand out, such as lack of affordable housing, poverty, investment speculation in housing, privatizing public services, low wages, rapid and poorly planned urbanization, and unemployment.
Substance abuse and homelessness statistics indicate that the lack of facilities and services for individuals with substance abuse issues and mental illness is also a factor in homelessness. Lastly, the displacement of people due to natural disasters, wars, and government housing policies also play a role in causing homelessness worldwide. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 99,000 individuals were still in displacement in 2017.
Which country has the least homeless?
In Liechtenstein and Jordan, homelessness simply does not exist. There are no cases of homeless persons in both of these countries. In fact, in Liechtenstein, a homeless service facility had to be closed down for lack of use.
There are measures in place to ensure that everyone has access to housing, such as subsidizing home purchases through the Housing Promotion Act, rental subsidies for groups at risk, and living expenses subsidized by Social Assistance during times of hardship. Family culture may also play a role in preventing homelessness.
How many homeless die each year?
It is very hard to get an accurate number of homeless individuals dying each year worldwide. This is because even global statistics can be challenging to accurately count due to variations in methodologies and definition of homelessness. There is also a huge possibility of homelessness being underreported worldwide.
In the United States, there are no national homelessness statistics on the amount of people that are dying, but in Los Angeles, 918 individuals have died in 2018 alone. From 2014 to 2018, 3,612 homeless people have died in the city, with only a third of them dying in hospitals. The rest died in sidewalks, railroad tracks, or bus benches.
Leave a Comment