According to homelessness statistics in the United States, almost 67% of the country’s homeless population are single.
More than 30% of homeless people are families.
Homeless numbers have increased in the United States by around 1% in recent months, so it’s not getting any better for the families and individuals impacted by homelessness.
We have done some research by digging around to find out what the statistics for homelessness in the United States entail.
We have gathered a lot of data and statistics that will surprise you, if not induce some level of despair.
However, we also found some positive elements about homelessness to give us all hope for the future of not only the United States, but also for the world.
Let’s look at the top 10 homelessness stats and then discuss them in more demographics detail.
Key Homelessness Statistics 2024
- Homelessness is mostly caused by three things, which are poverty, unemployment, and the lack of affordable housing.
- The State of California is known to have the highest rate of homelessness in the United States.
- Individuals over 24 years of age make up the highest homeless population in the United States.
- In 2020, over 220,000 of the homeless population in the US are left without shelter.
- Nearly 300,000 white people are homeless in the United States.
- Men are among the highest gender demographic in homelessness.
- North Dakota has the lowest number of homeless as of 2019.
- In 2020, US homelessness was down by 173,691 since 2005.
- In 2020, 16.1% of those under 18 years old lived in poverty.
- Between 2019 and 2020, there was an increase in poverty rates among the non-Hispanic White and Hispanics communities.
Detailed US Homelessness Statistics In 2024
One of the first questions we need to answer about homelessness in the United States (and globally) is why it happens?
So, what is the cause of homelessness in the US right now?
The first section will discuss how homelessness impacts real people.
1. Homelessness Is Mostly Caused by Three Things, Which Are Poverty, Unemployment, and The Lack of Affordable Housing.
There are three primary reasons cited for homelessness in the United States, which also extends to the world.
- The lack of affordable housing
There are families out on the streets or living in homeless shelters in the US to no fault of their own.
They may have had solid employment before things went awry for them, leaving them homeless and in debt.
As housing prices rise for buying and renting, it’s harder and harder for families and individuals to afford a place to live.
Also, living at or below the poverty line is a major problem.
While there are those who simply prefer to live in a homeless state, most people and families don’t fall into this state due to personal failings.
2. The State of California Is Known to Have the Highest Rate of Homelessness in The United States.
California is the state with the most homeless living there as of 2020. In 2020, there were 161,548 homeless in the state.
This is the last reported number for homelessness in the country by state.
In 2010, California’s homeless numbers were at 123,480, which is quite a difference from 2020.
In fact, the homeless numbers took a big hike of over 10,000 between 2019 and 2020.
When the numbers for 2021 and 2022 come out, we are hoping that after the pandemic that these numbers will go back down.
3. Individuals Over 24 Years of Age Make up The Highest Homeless Population in The United States.
It may come as a surprise to many that the statistics show that people over 24 account for the most people who are homeless in the US.
For those under 18, there are 106,364 homeless. These statistics are from 2020 since we found none for 2021 yet.
Finally, between the ages of 18 and 24, there are a reported 45,243 homeless in the US population. This includes those who have shelter and those who don’t.
What it cannot account for is the unreported numbers of people who are homeless in any age group.
4. In 2020, Over 220,000 of The Homeless Population in The US Were Left without Shelter.
In 2005, the statistics showed that 338,781 of the homeless living in the United States were unsheltered.
So, there has been some positive information since in 2020, there are now a reported 226,080 unsheltered.
Conversely, in 2005, there were 415,366 of the homeless population that were sheltered compared to 2020, where there were 354,386 sheltered.
This can be taken as a negative or a positive, depending on the circumstances.
Things look bleak when you consider the uptake in the homeless population who are unsheltered, and the lower numbers who are sheltered.
However, this could be due to people getting jobs or finding homes or dwellings.
5. Nearly 300,000 White People Are Homeless in The United States.
The highest number of homelessness according to race is within the Caucasian communities at 280,612, according to 2020 stats.
Even in 2015, the white population experienced the most homelessness with 273,746. So, the numbers for Caucasians haven’t changed very much, but have still increased.
As for the Black/African American community, there are currently 228,796 homeless.
There has been little change since 2015 in this demographic as well with 227,937 in 2015. Again, homelessness in this community has increased.
The Asian homeless population is significantly lower in 2020, with only 7,638 compared to the hundreds of thousands of Caucasian and African Americans.
The Asian population has the fewest homelessness numbers in the US.
6. Men Are Among the Highest Gender Demographics in Homelessness.
The American male experiences the highest level of homelessness than any other gender. In 2020, statistics showed that 352,211 men were homeless.
This number is up by over 20,000 from 2015, when there were 339,075 homeless men in the country.
Women are behind men by a bit, with 223,578 being homeless in 2020, which is down a bit from 2015 when it was 224,344.
In 2015, 1,289 transgenders were homeless and in 2020, there has been a rise to 3,161. This includes the gender non-conforming community.
7. North Dakota Has the Lowest Number of Homeless as Of 2019.
It’s important to address the state in the United States with the lowest homeless population along with the highest.
We know that California has the highest, followed by New York.
However, in North Dakota in 2019, only 557 people in the whole state were reported as homeless.
Grant it, the state has a lower population and is a smaller state, but per capita, it still has the lowest homelessness rate.
Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have managed to keep their number of homeless people under 5,000.
8. In 2020, US Homelessness Was Down by 173,691 Since 2005.
Until or unless the 2021 and 2022 numbers show a rise in the homelessness numbers in the United States, there is a positive takeaway between 2005 and 2020 with lower numbers of homeless.
The first major decrease occurred in 2007 when a drop to 647,258 happened gradually from 2005 homelessness data.
The next significant drop happened in 2016 when homelessness was down to 549,928. Since 2016, homelessness has been back on the rise where we had 580,466.
9. In 2020, 16.1% of Those Under 18 Years Old Lived in Poverty.
Whether they are homeless or not, there is a poverty problem when nearly 20% of young people under 18 (legal adult age in America) are living in poverty.
We know that poverty is one of the reasons individuals and families wind up homeless.
Likewise, the United States Census shows that the rate of poverty increased from 9.4% to 10.4% in 2020 for those aged 18 to 64.
Additionally, the poverty rate for people 65 and older was 9% in 2020, which showed no significant change over 2019.
10. Between 2019 and 2020, There Was an Increase in Poverty Rates Among the Non-Hispanic White and Hispanics Communities.
In 2015, the homeless numbers for Hispanics and non-Hispanic White communities were at 112,568.
There was an increase over the year to 121,299 in 2016. By 2017, a dip in these numbers occurred and accounted for 118,362 among these communities,
Unfortunately, 2018 saw another rise to 122,476 among the non-Hispanic White and Hispanic demographics.
2019 came with 124,615 homeless in this demographic, and in 2020, that number increased significantly to 130,348.
General Homelessness Statistics in the US 2024
You have the data for the demographics of homelessness in the US up to 2020, since 2021 and 2022 numbers for demographics are still unavailable.
The next section will address some of the general homelessness statistics in recent years in the United States.
11. In 2020, 3 States and 83 Communities Have Said They Ended Homelessness Among Their Veterans.
The goal is to make sure that America’s veterans with no shelter or home become a rarity, brief, or a one-time thing.
At the national level, homelessness among veterans has decreased 47% since its peak in 2009.
This is good news for veterans who are finding homes and/or permanent shelter.
However, there are still more than half of the veteran population in the United States who remain homeless.
Hopefully, the coming years will show more decreases in veteran homelessness.
12. Homelessness Among Families with Children Is Also on The Decline.
Unless the pandemic has created more instances over 2021 and 2022, homelessness among families with children is another group where a decrease has been seen between 2007 and 2020.
The decrease of 27% between 2007 and 2020 has been seen as a good thing, though in 2016, there is a rise in chronic homelessness of 35% since 2007 over the total population.
There are several causes that can explain why homelessness of veterans and families with children has declined over the overall population.
It’s believed to be due in part to the level of knowledge and awareness of these subgroups of homeless populations.
13. As Of 2020, 57% of The United States’ Population Experiences Homelessness.
It seems to be an endless challenge in the US to try to overcome homelessness.
In 2022, there seems to be a decline in sheltered homelessness after a rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unsheltered homelessness saw a significant rise during the time prior to the pandemic when fewer people were staying in shelters. In 2021, a downward trend began and has continued.
A rise in unsheltered homelessness is assumed to be a system failure for this segment of the population.
However, it’s more complex than fewer people having shelter and more living outside.
The truth is that the system for homeless services has increased its capacity to help people. They increase their bed counts and more.
It’s thought that the problem is within the idea of getting permanent shelter for the nation’s homeless over making sure they have temporary or some shelter.
So, while more are receiving help from housing, more are also challenged in temporary housing.
14. Measuring the Rate of Homelessness Isn’t the Only Way to Understand the Nature of The Problem.
Numbers can tell us how many homeless people are in the overall population, but it’s not the best or only way to understand homelessness.
Why? Here’s some context for you.
Let’s say that in Wyoming there are around 575,000 people, of which 100,000 are homeless.
In contrast, let’s say there are over 39 million people living in California with 100,000 being homeless.
The ratio of homelessness is vastly different between Wyoming and California. It shows how the rates of homelessness differ between states.
These numbers are also different between counties, cities, towns, and other regions, which is all important when considering the homeless population against the overall population.
15. The Number of People Who Have Been Living in Poverty Has Spiked to Around 3.3 Million People Over Two Years.
Until 2020, the national poverty rate had decreased over five years.
However, in 2020, it spiked to 3.3 million, which accounts for almost 11.4% of the whole US population, or 37.2 million people.
These numbers differ between racial communities. For instance, Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American communities experience higher poverty rates over White/Caucasian communities.
The percentage of the Black/African American demographic is 19.5% and it’s 17% for the Hispanic/Latino group. In 2022, these communities are considered high-risk for poverty.
16. Reporting Issues Caused by The Pandemic Is Problematic for Statistical Accuracy.
It’s yet unsure whether United States homelessness has or will decrease or increase.
According to the data we have gathered thus far, the US seems to be facing a wave of homelessness and housing crisis.
We gather this from the decrease in people experiencing homelessness who are sheltered, which is spiking as the cost of living rises across this nation.
17. 2.5 Million Children Will Become Homeless in The United States in 2022.
Not only will 2.5 million children experience homelessness this year in America, 1 out of 30 children experience homelessness each year in the United States.
Between 2018 and 2019, 6%, or 1.3 million children under the age of six experienced homelessness. In fact, 51% of homeless children are under six years old.
They are often not counted among the homeless stats due to their age because they are not yet in school.
Additionally, 1 out of 19 children in the US experiences homelessness before they reach first grade.
18. In 2022, Statistics Show that 87% More Students in Homeless Situations Will Drop out Of School than Their Peers with Homes.
Students who are in homeless circumstances are at 87% higher risk of dropping out of school over their housed peers.
Some of this is because they may work to pay for food and clothing to help the family, which is all they can do.
Other situations could include that they cannot afford to go to school with so many requirements in tools and supplies in place.
While some schools or cities offer assistance with free school supplies, not all students receive them.
19. In The United States, There’s a Shortage of 6.8 Million Affordable and Available Rental Houses to Those with Significantly Low Incomes.
So, even when they work hard for a living, they cannot afford to buy or rent a home or an apartment. Many cannot even afford a rental room.
They are barely scraping by enough to eat and cloth themselves, much less pay rent. A shortage of 6.8 available and affordable rentals is egregious.
20. The Nation’s Official Poverty Line for Four People in A Household Is $26,200.
Two parents and two children make up four in a household where poverty is living on $26,200 a year.
There are 37.2 million people (Twice the New York population) in the United States living below this official poverty line.
In 2020, 16.1% of those under 18 years old were living in poverty.
Almost 11 million children (double Arizona’s population) in the country lived in poverty (1 out of every 7).
Also, the nation’s minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since 2009 with no raise.
How Much Would a Person Living in The US Have to Work to Afford a Two-Bedroom Home at Minimum Wage?
The average American worker would need to work 97 hours (around 4 full days) each week to afford a 2-bedroom rental at Fair Market Rent prices.
How Much Would a Person Need to Work to Afford a One-Bedroom Dwelling at Minimum Wage?
An American worker making minimum wage would have to work 79 hours (around 3.5 full days) per week just to afford a one-bedroom rental at the “Fair Market” rates.
What Segment of The US Population Is the Fastest Growing in Homelessness?
Sadly, families are the fastest growing demographic of homelessness in the United States.
It’s not good for anyone to be homeless. It’s a struggle no matter what but imagine the struggle for a family.
What Is Considered the Average Homeless Family Home in The US?
In the United States, the average homeless family includes a single mom with two small children.
Homelessness is a crisis in America.
What Do Statistics Show Is Essential to Ending the Homeless Condition?
The simple answer is housing. However, that’s not enough.
Families need more support to ensure that they have food, clothing, shelter, education, childcare, and jobs to maintain and keep housing.
Some are also in need of mental health care, general healthcare, trauma-related services, and children’s services.
How Many People in America Are Homeless?
One out of every 588 Americans is living in a homeless circumstance.
In 2021, it was estimated that around 552,830 people in the United States were homeless.
While these statistics on homelessness in the United States for 2024 don’t cover every aspect of this problem, or any new statistics due to reporting issues caused by the pandemic, it does give you a good indication about how bad it really is.
Overall, the pandemic hit the world and put people out of their homes, put them in hospitals, and many died.
It’s been a horrific three years for homeless people and for the services provided for them in the United States.
It’s been challenging to keep up with services for all people experiencing homelessness and for keeping track of how many there are across the country.
For instance, children who are not yet of school age aren’t counted in the homeless stats, which is a large demographic of the population.
Overall, we can see how scary and horrific these US 2024 homelessness statistics are for the country, and for the world.