States With Highest, Lowest 'Unsheltered' Rates

California has the most, at nearly 70%, but most of New York's homeless are in shelters
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2023 3:10 PM CST
States With Highest 'Unsheltered' Rates
File photo of a homeless encampment near downtown St. Louis.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Homelessness in the US is increasing, and more details are surfacing from the latest batch of federal numbers. The big takeaway stat is that an estimated 653,000 were homeless on a single day in January 2023, the largest figure since that "point in time" method of counting began in 2007. Now the Guardian pulls out other details, including a look at which states have the most "unsheltered" people. The designation refers to people who are homeless but not living in shelters or other indoor accommodations. Instead, they're in tents, vehicles, or makeshift encampments outdoors. New York, for example, has a large number of homeless people, but only about 5% of them are unsheltered. In warmer California, nearly 70% of the state's homeless are unsheltered.

  • 5 highest unsheltered rates: California, 68% (123,432 total); Oregon, 64.6% (13,004); Hawaii, 62.8% (3,907); Arizona, 53.5% (7,615); Nevada, 52.6% (4,555).
  • 5 lowest unsheltered rates: Wisconsin, 9.4% (458); Massachusetts, 7.1% (1,362); Maine, 7% (299); New York, 4.9% (5,007); Vermont, 4.2% (137).
  • Youth homelessness: California led the nation in youth homelessness, with the largest number of unaccompanied youth under age 25, at 10,173. Nearly 7,000 of them were unsheltered, roughly half the nation's total.
(Cities across the US are struggling with how to handle homeless encampments.)

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