Homelessness is one of the largest societal issues in the United States, impacting people from diverse backgrounds and circumstances. In 2022, a staggering 582,500 individuals were experiencing homelessness on a single night across the nation.
Out of this homeless population, around 60% found refuge in sheltered locations like emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, or safe havens. Alarmingly, however, 40% were left to reside in uninhabitable spaces, such as streets or abandoned buildings, highlighting the harsh reality faced by a significant portion of the homeless community.
Between 2020 and 2022, the total number of individuals experiencing homelessness saw a slight increase of less than one percent. This modest uptick was a result of various factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. As pandemic-related restrictions began to ease in 2021, shelters were able to safely accommodate more people, leading to a seven percent rise in sheltered homelessness while still adhering to safety guidelines.
Key findings from the data include:
Homelessness is a multifaceted issue that affects a diverse range of individuals and families across the United States. Understanding the scope and nature of homelessness in each state is a crucial step toward developing effective strategies and solutions to combat this pressing issue.
Homelessness is a deeply-rooted and complex issue that affects millions of people across the United States. While every state grapples with this societal concern to some extent, there are ten states that stand out for their particularly high homeless populations. These states are:
Collectively, these ten states account for over 60% of America's homeless population, highlighting the severity of the problem within their borders.
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There were approximately 582,500 homeless people in the United States on a single night in 2022. Six in ten (60%) were staying in sheltered locations—emergency shelters, safe havens, or transitional housing programs—and four in ten (40%) were in unsheltered locations such as on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not suitable for human habitation.
As of 2022, California's homeless population stands at 171,521, the highest in the nation. The state has experienced a 6.2% increase in homelessness since 2020, making it the 18th fastest-growing homeless population in the U.S. Furthermore, California has seen a 23.40% rise in homelessness since 2007, placing it 8th in the nation in terms of growth since that year.
Notably, California also has the highest rate of homelessness per capita, with 43.7 individuals experiencing homelessness for every 10,000 residents and the highest unsheltered homeless rate at 67.3%, meaning that a significant majority of the state's homeless population is not living in shelters or other temporary housing options.
The state with the lowest homeless population in the U.S is North Dakota, which only has 610 homeless people. However, when accounting for population the state of Mississippi has the lowest rate of homelessness with only 4.1 homeless individuals for every 10,000 people. In comparison North Dakota has 7.9 homeless individuals for every 10,000 people.