Housing Facts & Figures

Around the world about 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless. Another billion people―32% of the global urban population―live in slums. If no serious action is taken, the number of slum dwellers worldwide will increase over the next 30 years to nearly 2 billion.

United Nations

In the US, 95 million people (or about 1 in 3) have housing problems such as payments too large a percentage of their income, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness.

US Department of Housing & Urban Development

There are around 1,000,000 homeless people in the US and shelters have about 600,000 beds.

US Department of Housing & Urban Development

66% of homeless people stay in emergency shelters or transitional housing, while 33% sleep in an unsheltered location on the street.

US Department of Housing & Urban Development

10% of the homeless are veterans.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Senior homelessness is on the rise, with the amount of homeless seniors expected to increase to 95,000 by 2050.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Just 5 states account for 50% of the homeless population: California (22%), New York (16%), Florida (6%), Texas (4%), and Washington (4%).

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

The city with the highest population of homeless people is New York City.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Between 750,000 – 1,000,000 children are homeless in America over the course of a year — 25% of the homeless population.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development

In 2012, the total number of homeless students in preschool or K-12 was over 1.5 million – the highest ever recorded.

Bread for the World

Among children who stayed in a shelter funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 42% were between the ages of 1 and 5.

Bread for the World

35% of the homeless population are families with children and 22% of the homeless are children under the age of 18.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development


More than 2 million low income families participate in the Housing Choice Voucher program, the nation’s largest rental assistance program.

Bread for the World

Since 2000, rents have increased 66% while household incomes have risen only 35%.

Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota

25% of poor families spend more than 70% of their income on rent and utilities.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

75% of families that qualify for government housing assistance do not receive it.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

12% of families expect to be evicted soon.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Duration of Homelessness

Less than 1 Week: 5%

1 Week to 1 Month: 8%

1-3 Months: 15%

4-6 Months: 11%

7-12 Months: 15%

13-24 Months: 16%

25-60 Months: 10%

National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers & Clients

Vulnerable Homeless Populations

Chronical substance abuse: 23%

Chronically homeless (more than 1 year): 17%

Severely mentally ill: 18%

Victims of domestic abuse: 12%

Veterans: 11%

Persons with HIV/AIDS:  3%

Unaccompanied youth (under 18): 2%

The University of Chicago

Homeless people have almost 2 times greater death rate than comparable non-homeless population.

The University of Chicago

Many cities across the country have responded to the increase in homelessness by passing laws the restrict sleeping in public places, begging, camping and sitting or lying in public.

US Department of Housing & Urban Development

24 states plus Washington, DC have made cuts to public assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Myths & Facts About Homelessness

Myth: People need to earn their way back into housing, and we need to hold them accountable.

Most people who become homeless come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect. The odds of someone in the general population becoming homeless are 1 in 194, whereas those same odds for kids coming out of foster care are 1 in 11.

Myth: Homeless people are dangerous.

Homeless people are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to commit those crimes themselves. People without housing are vulnerable and lack the safety that a home provides. While it is true that homeless people often have lengthy arrest records, they’re most often arrested for non-violent crimes associated with not having a home, like public urination, or trespassing charges for camping on someone else’s land.

Myth: Homeless people come to an area because they heard about the social services there.

Most people stay in the community where they first became homeless. According to national data, only 25% of the homeless population is transient.

Homeward Bound

Housing is considered affordable when it costs a household no more than 30% of its income. A household with average income spends approximately 27% on housing expenses, but those with lower incomes pay a significantly higher percentage. Those with the lowest 20% of income spend 87% on housing; and those in the second lowest 20% spend 45%. This puts these household groups at higher risk of homelessness than those with higher incomes who have additional resources to pay for food, transportation, health care, and other necessities, as well as to address financial emergencies.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

A homeless person costs tax payers $40,000 a year. These costs include: shelters, emergency room visits (homeless have 36% longer hospital stays), police enforcement/jail/court costs etc.

US Department of Housing & Urban Development