Top 10 States with the Highest Homeless Rates
Top 10 States With Highest Rate Of Homeless In The US
Table of Contents

How many homeless persons are there in the United States?

According to figures from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), over 582,000 Americans are homeless as of 2022. That's 18 per 10,000 persons nationwide, but in some states, rates can reach 44 per 10,000.

Homelessness is a major socioeconomic issue in the United States, affecting people of all origins and circumstances.

Approximately 60% of the homeless population sought sanctuary in sheltered locations such as emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, and safe havens. Surprisingly, 40% were forced to live in uninhabitable locations such as streets or abandoned buildings, reflecting the hard reality experienced by a substantial percentage of the homeless community.

Between 2020 and 2022, America's homeless population increased by less than 1%. This minor increase was due to a variety of circumstances, including the COVID-19 pandemic. As pandemic-related limitations eased in 2021, shelters were able to securely house more people, resulting in a seven percent increase in sheltered homelessness while maintaining safety standards.

Why do certain states have greater rates of homelessness?

Housing costs influence the rate of homelessness. Hawaii, California, and Washington, D.C. have the nation's highest housing expenses and homelessness rates. West Virginia and Mississippi have the lowest housing costs in the country, as well as the fewest homeless.

These estimates are presumably influenced by the challenges in counting the homeless population. Rural areas and states with a high proportion of unsheltered homeless people have distinct obstacles when calculating their homeless populations.

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US Homelessness - Key Facts

• In all 50 states, the percentage of the population that is homeless is less than 0.50%. The figure is 0.66% in the District of Columbia. This may imply that most of the United States is not a particularly homeless place, but it doesn't lessen the challenges that the country's approximately 580,000 homeless people face.

• In relation to population, the District of Columbia, California, and Vermont have the highest rates of homelessness. An average of 0.51% of people live in homelessness in these regions. Conversely, the states with the lowest average rates of homelessness (0.06%) in relation to population are Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, and Illinois.

• Homeless populations are typically higher in states with higher housing costs. Expensive housing may contribute to homelessness, but it's important to remember that there are other, more complicated reasons why people become homeless, like substance abuse or health problems.

• 58.22% of the homeless people living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia are on average housed in shelters. Hawaii has a far lower percentage of sheltered homeless people (24.87%), while Vermont has the highest percentage (94.39%).

Top 10 States With Highest Rate Of Homeless In The US

1. California (171,521)

The number of homeless persons is 171,521.

Shelters house 25.98% of the homeless population.

Homeless persons account for 0.44% of the total population.

The median property price is $648,100.

With an estimated 171,521 homeless individuals, California currently has the largest homeless population. This sum represents 27.89% of the total number of homeless people in the United States. This sum is related to the difficulties in finding suitable and affordable housing options, current drug laws, and limited access to essential mental health facilities.

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2. New York (74,178)

Number of homeless people: 74,178.

88.49% of homeless persons live in shelters.

Homeless persons account for 0.38% of the total population.

The median property price is $368,800.

New York has the second highest homeless population. New York has 74,178 homeless people, accounting for 15.76% of the national total. The majority of these persons reside in New York City. Homelessness in this metropolis has reached its greatest level since the Great Depression in the 1930s, peaking during Mayor Bill de Blasio's tenure. However, this year saw the second consecutive year of a decrease in the homeless or unsheltered population, which can be ascribed to the establishment of safe havens, or specialized shelters, with a faster process for placing people in permanent housing. As of November 2022, NYC had 67,150 homeless persons.

3. Florida (25,959)

The number of homeless persons is 25,959.

Shelters house 38.68% of the homeless population.

Homeless persons account for 0.12% of the total population.

The median property price is $290,700.

4. Washington (25,211)

Washington state ranked fourth in the United States as of 2022, with 25,211 homeless people. Since 2020, the state has had a 10.0% increase in homelessness, ranking 15th nationally. Over a longer time span, from 2007, there has been a 7.8% increase, ranking Washington 16th in the country for this category. Furthermore, the state has the sixth-highest per capita homelessness rate (32.6 per 10,000 people). Furthermore, half of the state's homeless population is unsheltered, ranking tenth in the United States.

5. Texas (24,432)

As of 2022, Texas had the seventh biggest homeless population in the United States, with 24,432 people. However, it is worth noting that the Lone Star state has seen a 10.3% fall in homelessness since 2020, as well as a significant decrease of 38.60% since 2007, placing it 43rd and 42nd in the country for these decreases. When assessed per capita, Texas ranks 36th in the country with 8.3 homeless individuals per 10,000 people. Furthermore, nearly half (44.9%) of the homeless population in Texas is unsheltered, placing the state 12th in the nation for this category.

6. Oregon (17,959)

Oregon has a significant amount of homeless persons, with a population of 17,959 in 2022, ranking sixth in the United States. Homelessness in the state increased by 22.5% between 2020 and 2021, ranking ninth for the most substantial increase during that time period. Despite a very slight 2.1% increase in homelessness since 2007, the per capita rate remains high, with 42.3 homeless individuals per 10,000 people, ranking third nationally. Distressingly, 61.7% of its population is unsheltered, ranking fourth among all states. These data emphasize the need of solving homelessness in Oregon through comprehensive and inclusive solutions.

7. Massachusetts (15,507)

In 2022, Massachusetts had a homeless population of 15,507, ranking sixth in the United States. However, since 2020, Massachusetts has witnessed a dramatic decline in homelessness, with a rate of -13.7%, the sixth highest decrease in the country. Despite this, the state ranks 17th with a 2.50% increase in homelessness since 2007. The state also has a relatively high homelessness per capita rate, with 22.2 homeless individuals per 10,000 inhabitants, ranking 11th in the US. Fortunately, Massachusetts has one of the lowest rates of unsheltered homeless, at only 7.3%—the sixth lowest in the United States. This suggests that the majority of persons classified as homeless are now receiving some type of shelter or temporary accommodation.

8. Arizona (13.553)

Arizona has significant figures in its homelessness indices for 2022. The state has the eighth greatest homeless population in the United States, with 13,553 people. In 2022, Pennsylvania had the ninth largest homeless population in the United States, with 12,691 people. However, the state has had a 5.1% decrease in homelessness since 2020, representing a considerable improvement and placing it as the 36th state for homelessness change. Impressively, this continues a constant trend of declining numbers, with a staggering 21.8% decline in homelessness since 2007, placing 32nd in this category. The state ranks 28th out of all states in terms of homelessness per capita, with 9.8 individuals per 10,000. Furthermore, Pennsylvania has been successful in providing shelter to people facing homelessness, with a low unsheltered homeless rate of 12.7%, ranking it 38th in this category.

10. Georgia (10,689)

Georgia reported a homeless population of 10,689 people in 2022, ranking 10th in the United States. Despite this substantial amount, the state has had a 4.4% increase in homelessness since 2020, ranking 22nd in terms of annual growth in homelessness. On a brighter note, since 2007, the state has seen a dramatic 45.6% decline in homelessness, ranking 46th nationally. Georgia ranks 27th in terms of per capita homeless population, at 9.9 per 10,000 people. A troubling figure is Georgia's unsheltered homeless rate, which is the eighth highest, with 51.8% of its homeless people living without adequate shelter.

Which state has the largest proportion of youth homelessness?

Massachusetts also has the greatest percentage of homeless children. 39.8% of Massachusetts' homeless are under the age of 18, more than five times the rate in Nevada and California.

Which state has the highest percentage of female homeless?

Of the homeless in Massachusetts, 49.4% are women, the highest rate in the US. The Northeast contains the top four states with the largest proportion of female homeless people. Nevada, Louisiana, and Wyoming have the lowest percentages of homeless women in their respective homeless populations, at roughly 30%.


The issue of homelessness in the United States impacts all individuals who lack a permanent residence. Over the past ten years, as the economy has improved, the overall rate of homelessness has decreased; however, in certain areas, the situation has gotten significantly worse.

The two states in the US with the highest rates of homelessness are New York and Washington, D.C. In addition, many people cannot afford to live in California or Hawaii permanently due to the high cost of housing in those states. Massachusetts has the highest rate of youth and female homelessness in New England. Even though the country has made great strides in combating homelessness, problems with the issue still exist, especially in places like New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco. Ensuring safe and secure housing for every American is still an ongoing task.

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