States With the Most Unsheltered Homeless People

December 18, 2018 by Thomas C. Frohlich

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

There were an estimated 552,830 people experiencing homelessness across the United States in January 2018, essentially the same number as the same time last year.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development delivers to Congress annual estimates of homelessness across the nation. There is a great deal of variation in homelessness across the country.

Based on the latest report from HUD, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the share of each state’s homeless population that is unsheltered. Nationwide, approximately two-thirds of homeless individuals were staying in sheltered locations, while one-third lived on the street, in abandoned buildings, and other unsheltered places.

Click here to see the states with the most unsheltered homeless people.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

50. Maine
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 3.9% (total: 98)
> Overall homelessness: 2,516 (19 in every 10,000 people — 11th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +10.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -4.4%
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (16th lowest)

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

49. Rhode Island
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 4.6% (total: 51)
> Overall homelessness: 1,101 (10 in every 10,000 people — 23rd lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -6.7%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -7.9%
> Poverty rate: 11.6% (20th lowest)

Source: samfotograf / iStock

48. New York
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 4.7% (total: 4,294)
> Overall homelessness: 91,897 (46 in every 10,000 people — the highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +2.7%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +50.3%
> Poverty rate: 14.1% (16th highest)

Source: jmiske / Flickr

47. Massachusetts
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 4.9% (total: 985)
> Overall homelessness: 20,068 (29 in every 10,000 people — 6th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +14.2%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +38.3%
> Poverty rate: 10.5% (10th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

46. Nebraska
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 5.9% (total: 144)
> Overall homelessness: 2,421 (13 in every 10,000 people — 17th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -3.2%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -39.2%
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (13th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

45. Vermont
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 6.4% (total: 82)
> Overall homelessness: 1,291 (21 in every 10,000 people — 9th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +5.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +35.3%
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (19th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

44. Wisconsin
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 7.8% (total: 382)
> Overall homelessness: 4,907 (8 in every 10,000 people — 13th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -2.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -9.9%
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (19th lowest)

Source: aimintang / Getty Images

43. Delaware
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 8.6% (total: 93)
> Overall homelessness: 1,082 (11 in every 10,000 people — 22nd highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: 8.9%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: 16.0%
> Poverty rate: 13.6% (19th highest)

Source: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

42. Iowa
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 8.8% (total: 241)
> Overall homelessness: 2,749 (9 in every 10,000 people — 14th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -0.3%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -17.8%
> Poverty rate: 10.7% (12th lowest)

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Source: Karen R. Ryberg / Wikimedia Commons

41. North Dakota
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 8.9% (total: 48)
> Overall homelessness: 542 (7 in every 10,000 people — 6th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -50.2%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -11.9%
> Poverty rate: 10.3% (9th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

40. New Hampshire
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 10.6% (total: 154)
> Overall homelessness: 1,450 (11 in every 10,000 people — 25th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -0.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -28.2%
> Poverty rate: 7.7% (the lowest)

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Source: TheCrimsonRibbon / iStock

39. Michigan
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 10.8% (total: 899)
> Overall homelessness: 8,351 (8 in every 10,000 people — 12th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -7.7%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -70.4%
> Poverty rate: 14.2% (15th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

38. Indiana
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 11.0% (total: 579)
> Overall homelessness: 5,258 (8 in every 10,000 people — 9th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -3.3%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -28.9%
> Poverty rate: 13.5% (20th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

37. Ohio
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 12.8% (total: 1,315)
> Overall homelessness: 10,249 (9 in every 10,000 people — 15th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +1.5%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -20.6%
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (17th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

36. Pennsylvania
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 12.9% (total: 1,744)
> Overall homelessness: 13,512 (11 in every 10,000 people — 25th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -4.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -12.1%
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (23rd lowest)

Source: Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons

35. Utah
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 14.6% (total: 420)
> Overall homelessness: 2,876 (9 in every 10,000 people — 20th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +0.8%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -16.2%
> Poverty rate: 9.7% (6th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

34. Connecticut
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 14.6% (total: 581)
> Overall homelessness: 3,976 (11 in every 10,000 people — 23rd highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +17.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -14.1%
> Poverty rate: 9.6% (5th lowest)

33. West Virginia
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 14.7% (total: 183)
> Overall homelessness: 1,243 (7 in every 10,000 people — 3rd lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -5.0%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -38.3%
> Poverty rate: 19.1% (4th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

32. Virginia
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 15.3% (total: 915)
> Overall homelessness: 5,975 (7 in every 10,000 people — 5th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -1.5%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -29.4%
> Poverty rate: 10.6% (11th lowest)

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Source: Rocky Grimes / Shutterstock.com

31. Alaska
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 15.3% (total: 309)
> Overall homelessness: 2,016 (27 in every 10,000 people — 7th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +9.3%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +22.5%
> Poverty rate: 11.1% (16th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

30. Minnesota
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 15.5% (total: 1,121)
> Overall homelessness: 7,243 (13 in every 10,000 people — 16th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -5.5%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -5.2%
> Poverty rate: 9.5% (4th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

29. Kansas
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 16.1% (total: 357)
> Overall homelessness: 2,216 (8 in every 10,000 people — 7th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -3.1%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: 27.5%
> Poverty rate: 11.9% (21st lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

28. New Jersey
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 17.3% (total: 1,623)
> Overall homelessness: 9,398 (10 in every 10,000 people — 24th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +10.1%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -32.1%
> Poverty rate: 10.0% (7th lowest)

Source: shipfactory / Shutterstock.com

27. Illinois
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 18.2% (total: 1,942)
> Overall homelessness: 10,643 (8 in every 10,000 people — 11th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -1.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -27.7%
> Poverty rate: 12.6% (24th lowest)

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Source: amolson7 / Shutterstock.com

26. Missouri
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 20.6% (total: 1,214)
> Overall homelessness: 5,883 (10 in every 10,000 people — 21st lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -2.6%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -23.5%
> Poverty rate: 13.4% (21st highest)

Source: Thinkstock

25. Kentucky
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 23.5% (total: 868)
> Overall homelessness: 3,688 (8 in every 10,000 people — 10th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -8.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -54.7%
> Poverty rate: 17.2% (5th highest)

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Source: wakr10 / iStock

24. South Dakota
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 24.6% (total: 285)
> Overall homelessness: 1,159 (13 in every 10,000 people — 15th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +22.9%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +100.2%
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (24th highest)

Source: Preservation Maryland / Wikimedia Commons

23. Maryland
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 24.7% (total: 1,764)
> Overall homelessness: 7,144 (12 in every 10,000 people — 19th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -1.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -22.5%
> Poverty rate: 9.3% (2nd lowest)

Source: jaredkay / iStock

22. North Carolina
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 26.4% (total: 2,450)
> Overall homelessness: 9,268 (9 in every 10,000 people — 17th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +3.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -25.3%
> Poverty rate: 14.7% (13th highest)

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Source: Murray Foubister / Wikimedia Commons

21. Montana
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 26.5% (total: 373)
> Overall homelessness: 1,405 (13 in every 10,000 people — 14th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -8.1%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -0.8%
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (23rd lowest)

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

20. Alabama
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 29.4% (total: 1,010)
> Overall homelessness: 3,434 (7 in every 10,000 people — 4th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -9.5%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -36.3%
> Poverty rate: 16.9% (6th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

19. Oklahoma
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 30.8% (total: 1,191)
> Overall homelessness: 3,871 (10 in every 10,000 people — 22nd lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -7.8%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +0.7%
> Poverty rate: 15.8% (8th highest)

Source: suesmith2 / iStock

18. Wyoming
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 31.1% (total: 199)
> Overall homelessness: 639 (11 in every 10,000 people — 24th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -26.8%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -14.9%
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (19th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

17. New Mexico
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 31.2% (total: 796)
> Overall homelessness: 2,551 (12 in every 10,000 people — 18th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +2.8%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -15.4%
> Poverty rate: 19.7% (2nd highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

16. South Carolina
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 34.2% (total: 1,344)
> Overall homelessness: 3,933 (8 in every 10,000 people — 8th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +0.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -30.5%
> Poverty rate: 15.4% (9th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

15. Louisiana
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 34.8% (total: 1,065)
> Overall homelessness: 3,059 (7 in every 10,000 people — 2nd lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -7.4%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -44.2%
> Poverty rate: 19.7% (2nd highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

14. Idaho
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 35.9% (total: 723)
> Overall homelessness: 2,012 (12 in every 10,000 people — 21st highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -1.2%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +37.4%
> Poverty rate: 12.8% (25th lowest)

Source: f11photo / Thinkstock

13. Tennessee
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 36.2% (total: 2,855)
> Overall homelessness: 7,883 (12 in every 10,000 people — 20th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -5.1%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -18.8%
> Poverty rate: 15.0% (10th highest)

Source: BrianLasenby / iStock

12. Georgia
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 37.9% (total: 3,599)
> Overall homelessness: 9,499 (9 in every 10,000 people — 19th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -6.6%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -50.3%
> Poverty rate: 14.9% (11th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

11. Colorado
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 39.9% (total: 4,329)
> Overall homelessness: 10,857 (19 in every 10,000 people — 10th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -0.8%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -26.4%
> Poverty rate: 10.3% (9th lowest)

Source: mdesigner125 / Getty Images

10. Arizona
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 41.2% (total: 4,066)
> Overall homelessness: 9,865 (14 in every 10,000 people — 13th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +10.3%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -21.0%
> Poverty rate: 14.9% (11th highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

9. Texas
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 41.6% (total: 10,534)
> Overall homelessness: 25,310 (9 in every 10,000 people — 16th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +7.5%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -37.0%
> Poverty rate: 14.7% (13th highest)

Source: Ingo70 / Shutterstock.com

8. Florida
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 43.2% (total: 13,393)
> Overall homelessness: 31,030 (15 in every 10,000 people — 12th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -3.6%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -38.1%
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (17th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

7. Mississippi
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 45.9% (total: 621)
> Overall homelessness: 1,352 (5 in every 10,000 people — the lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -8.2%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -31.1%
> Poverty rate: 19.8% (the highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

6. Arkansas
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 46.3% (total: 1,257)
> Overall homelessness: 2,712 (9 in every 10,000 people — 18th lowest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +9.9%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -16.7%
> Poverty rate: 16.4% (7th highest)

Source: Thinkstock

5. Washington
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 47.6% (total: 10,621)
> Overall homelessness: 22,304 (30 in every 10,000 people — 5th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +5.6%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +1.6%
> Poverty rate: 11.0% (14th lowest)

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Source: Thinkstock

4. Hawaii
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 53.2% (total: 3,475)
> Overall homelessness: 6,530 (46 in every 10,000 people — 2nd highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -9.6%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: +7.7%
> Poverty rate: 9.5% (4th lowest)

Source: Thinkstock

3. Nevada
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 56.2% (total: 4,239)
> Overall homelessness: 7,544 (25 in every 10,000 people — 8th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -3.7%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -13.5%
> Poverty rate: 13.0% (24th highest)

Source: Png-Studio / iStock

2. Oregon
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 61.7% (total: 8,925)
> Overall homelessness: 14,476 (35 in every 10,000 people — 3rd highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: +3.7%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -29.9%
> Poverty rate: 13.2% (23rd highest)

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Source: Thinkstock

1. California
> Homeless individuals w/o shelter: 68.9% (total: 89,543)
> Overall homelessness: 129,972 (33 in every 10,000 people — 4th highest)
> Change in overall homelessness 2017-2018: -1.2%
> Change in overall homelessness 2008-2018: -4.8%
> Poverty rate: 13.3% (22nd highest)

Detailed Findings

While the overall level of homelessness was flat across the country, in some states there have been some notable improvements, and in other states the problem has gotten worse.

For instance, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness dropped 5% between 2017 and 2018, and by a remarkable 48% since 2009.

Over the one-year period, overall homelessness declined in 31 states and rose in 19 states. Over the period between 2008 and 2018, homelessness dropped in 39 states and increased in 11 states.

Presenting the report, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson said, “This year’s small increase was in part driven by a significant increase of nearly 3,800 people living in emergency shelters set up after the 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and in other areas impacted by disasters.”

“Increases in recent years [also] appear to be at least partially explained by more effective practices in documenting chronic patterns of homelessness by local communities,” he said.

The HUD recognized the problem of affordable housing. “Housing is too expensive overall. When housing costs outstrip incomes more people fall into homelessness and there are fewer avenues out.”

Methodology

To identify the states with the most unsheltered homeless people, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of each state’s homeless population that is unsheltered from The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s report, “The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness.”

In Part 1, HUD provides a snapshot of homelessness on a single night. The one-night counts are conducted in late January of each year. This is the most recent available data. Shelters include emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, safe havens, rapid re-housing programs, permanent supportive housing programs, and other permanent housing programs. The percentage of homeless people in families, in families with children, and the level of chronic homelessness — individuals who have been homeless for one year or more — also came from the HUD.

We also reviewed for each state the median annual household income, poverty rates, median home values, and the share of households receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps) data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. Cost of living in each state was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.