Though estimates are constantly in flux, the latest data indicates there are more than 575,000 people in the U.S. who are experiencing homelessness. To put that in perspective, that’s larger than the total populations of many major cities, including Atlanta, Georgia, Miami, Florida and Sacramento, California. But where are these homeless people located?
To answer that, LendingTree analyzed housing data to determine the states with the largest and smallest populations of people experiencing homelessness. The study also looked at how home prices play a role.
- California, New York and Florida have the largest homeless populations. Across the three states, more than 280,000 people are homeless—that’s nearly half of the total U.S. homeless population.
- North Dakota, Wyoming and South Dakota have the smallest homeless populations. North Dakota (541) and Wyoming (612) are the only states with fewer than 1,000 people who are homeless.
- States with more expensive housing tend to have proportionally higher homeless populations.
- The share of sheltered homeless people is highest in New York state at 95.01%, but it’s considerably lower in California at 29.64%.
“It may be tempting to assume that a simple solution to homelessness is to just reallocate a relatively small portion of the country’s millions of vacant housing units so that the approximately 575,000 homeless people who are in the U.S. have a place to live,” said Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economic analyst and report author. “However, because the vast majority of the nation’s vacant houses aren’t just sitting around abandoned, and are instead already owned as a secondary home, or are on the market waiting to be bought or rented, this solution is far from as practical as it may appear on the surface.”
To view the full report, click here.