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The number of deaths among people experiencing homelessness increased each year studied from 536 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2018 (Figure 1).
647,258 homeless Americans
According to statistics from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US homeless population has decreased 14.4% between 2007 and 2017. In 2007, there were 647,258 homeless Americans, compared to the 553,742 there are today.
The ONS figures show that there were 482 deaths among homeless people in 2013, rising to 597 in 2017. Overall, an estimated 2,627 homeless people died during the five year period. A detailed breakdown shows: more than half of the deaths were because of drug poisoning, liver disease or suicide.
Disclaimer: most data are not official estimates reported by government agencies and very likely represent a significant underestimate of actual deaths due to COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness.
The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing ( Habitat, 2015 ). Getting an accurate picture of global homelessness is extremely challenging.
Recent data shows an increase in homeless people by 1,600 since 2009. However, the age group that had the most significant rise in homelessness is among 18 to 29-year-olds, due to economic instability and a weak housing market (CPH Post, 2018).
Homeless Deaths Count is not responsible for inaccuracies in reporting or interpretation. Links to each source are provided to allow for independent verification. Citation: Fowle, M. & Gray, F. (2021). COVID-19 homeless deaths. Seattle, WA: Homeless Deaths Count.