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. The state with the most homeless people is New York (as a share of the total population).
Data from LendingTree’s recently released Hundreds of Thousands of People Are Homeless in the U.S. — Here’s Where Homelessness Is Most, Least Common report used data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Census Bureau. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed LendingTree’s report to find the states with the most homeless people.
The study found a possible link between home prices and homelessness. However, the report notes, “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.” (These are the most expensive states to live in.)
The numbers can be considered through two lenses. The first is the total homeless population. California leads the list with 161,548 homeless people. But California is also the most populous state by far, accounting for about 12% of the U.S. total population.
A better indication of the extent of the homelessness problem by state is the 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 and poverty rate. (These are zip codes with the highest poverty rates in the nation.)
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