Homelessness has become a large enough problem in some cities that it significantly affects the lives of those who are not homeless. Homeless encampments have been cleared in Denver and Minneapolis. In San Diego, some residents labeled the problem as “out of control.” In New York City, the government has rented hotels to temporarily shelter the homeless. People who live in areas around these camps and shelters have loudly lodged objections.
Data for Lending Tree’s recently released Hundreds of Thousands of People Are Homeless in the U.S. — Here’s Where Homelessness Is Most, Least Common report was from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau. One correlation the study found was a possible link between home prices and homelessness. However, the report notes that “While expensive housing can exacerbate homelessness, it’s important to note that other, more complex factors — including substance abuse or health problems — can be key drivers behind why people become homeless.”
The numbers can be viewed through two lenses. The first is the total homeless population. California leads the list with 161,548 homeless people. It is the largest state by far based on population, at about 12% of the U.S. total.
A better indication of the extent of the homelessness problem by the state is “share of the total population who are homeless.” The state that tops this list is New York at 0.47%, followed closely by Hawaii at 0.46%. At the far end of the spectrum, Mississippi’s figure is 0.04%. Interestingly, Mississippi is among the poorest states in the country based on income.
These are the 10 states with the worst homeless problem:
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