Homelessness has been a growing issue in the United States for decades — it affects millions of people each year. Despite efforts to address the problem, the number of individuals experiencing homelessness continues to rise, with the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing lack of affordable housing exacerbating an already difficult situation.

    Different methods for collecting data on homelessness are sometimes viewed as inaccurate, and many believe the actual number of those experiencing homelessness is much larger than some data indicate. In addition, there is no uniform definition of homelessness, and many without homes are simply hard to find. Those who live with friends or family, in hotels, or in their vehicles are not always counted — creating an “invisible” homeless population. 

    Experts agree that a solution to the homelessness crisis in America is multifaceted. A major and concerted effort on the part of governments, nonprofit organizations and other entities will be needed to find a long-term answer to homelessness. 

    In this article, we’ve compiled a list of statistics and facts (both point-in-time and from continuums of care) from government agencies and other reliable sources on the state of homelessness and what the problem looks like as of 2023.

    Key Homelessness Statistics and Facts for 2023

    • Globally, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing conditions.1
    • In America, 582,462 individuals are experiencing homelessness, an increase of about 2,000 people since the last complete census conducted in 2020.2
    • Sixty percent of the homeless population finds refuge in sheltered locations (like emergency shelters, safe havens, or transitional housing programs). The other 40% spend nights unsheltered (often on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not designated/suitable for human habitation).2
    • More than a quarter of those experiencing homelessness in 2022 did so as part of a family with children.2
    • In 2022, there were 329,675 beds in emergency shelters across the country available to homeless individuals.3
    • The White House recently introduced a plan to combat homelessness in America in an effort to reduce homelessness by 25% by 2025.4
    • More than 75% of all people experiencing homelessness were adults aged 25 or older (444,041 people).5
    • As of 2018 it was estimated that 26 million people had experienced self-defined homelessness during their lifetimes.6
    • Thirty percent of people without homes experience chronic homelessness, meaning they have been without homes for longer than 12 months or have experienced extended periods of homelessness over the past three years.2
    • The homeless population is particularly susceptible to hate crimes and attacks, with 22 non-lethal and 14 lethal attacks perpetrated on homeless individuals in 2019 alone.3  

    A common misconception around homelessness is that it's confined to an unsheltered population in America’s cities. While major cities do have large sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations, this is not strictly an urban problem. Many homeless Americans live in suburban and rural settings as well. 

    • In terms of major U.S. cities, Los Angeles and New York City have the highest population of homeless persons with 54,469 and 32,308 people, respectively.3
    • In terms of states, California, New York, Florida, Washington, and Texas have the highest numbers of unsheltered individuals.5
    • States with the largest absolute increases in homelessness between 2020 and 2022 were California (9,973 more people), Louisiana (4,200), Tennessee (3,311), and Oregon (3,304).5
    • States with the largest percentage increases in homelessness between 2020 and 2022 were Vermont (151%), Louisiana (132%), Maine (110%), and Delaware (103%).5

    Homelessness Statistics By Demographic

    Based on the information available, homelessness is a problem for all races and ethnicities. However, as with many other aspects of American life, historically marginalized populations are more likely to be disadvantaged when it comes to housing, unemployment, and income.

    • Compared with 2020, homelessness among people in shelters declined by 1.6%, while homelessness among people in unsheltered settings increased by 3.4% in 2022.7
    • Based on a 2022 point-in-time count, 50% of all people experiencing homelessness (around 291,395 people) identified as white and 37% of people experiencing homelessness (around 217,366 people) identified as Black, African American, or African.5
    • Based on the same 2022 point-in-time count, when the homeless population was divided by ethnicity, 24% of all people experiencing homelessness were Hispanic or Latin(a)(o)(x).5
    • African Americans make up 13% of the general population, but more than 40% of the homeless population.8
    • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders have the highest rate of homelessness — 109 out of every 10,000 people.8

    Group-Specific Homeless Stats


    One of the most vulnerable groups experiencing homelessness in large numbers is unfortunately children, many of whom come from families with domestic violence issues. With varying definitions of homelessness in America, different entities have compiled different figures.

    • Under the definition of the Department of Housing and Urban Developing (HUD), which keeps official homelessness counts, there are 106,364 homeless children under 18 and 45,243 homeless young adults ages 18 to 24.9
    • Schools, on the other hand, in 2019-2020 identified 1.28 million homeless students.9
    • The number of unaccompanied youths experiencing homelessness in America decreased by 12% between 2020 and 2022.2
    • California has the highest number of homeless under the age of 25 at about 9,590.3
    • Males are the predominant gender of homeless youth at 55% nationwide, with females accounting for about 40% and transgender and non-conforming youth making up about 4%.3


    Homeless veterans in America often garner a fair amount of attention given their service time in the military and the advocacy resources devoted to them. With causes of homelessness ranging from substance abuse to mental health problems, there is no single solution to reducing homelessness among veterans.

    • As of 2022 HUD found that 33,129 veterans were experiencing homelessness.2
    • Eighty-nine percent of homeless veterans received an honorable discharge.10
    • The population of homeless veterans declined by 11% since 2020 and has been halved since 2010.2
    • In 2022, California had the highest number of homeless veterans at around 10,395.3
    • In 2022, about 13,564 homeless veterans in the United States were living outside of a homeless shelter.3
    • An estimated 88.7% of homeless veterans are male, and in 2022, 19,565 were living in homeless shelters.3
    • Seventy-six percent of homeless veterans experience alcohol, drug, or mental health issues.10
    • Of veterans ages 18-24, 30.2% are unemployed.10


    The issue of homelessness in America persists and poses a continuous and multidimensional challenge across states and communities. Identifying the regions that face the most severe difficulties and allocating additional resources and attention to them could lead to significant progress in tackling homelessness.

    The most recent administration's efforts to remedy homelessness in America include a plan to create more affordable housing, rework mental health strategies by boosting system capacity and resources, and revamping national drug control policy to combat a decades-long substance abuse epidemic.


    1. United Nations
    2. Security.org
    3. Statista
    4. U.S. Interagency on Homelessness
    5. The 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR)
    6. National Library of Medicine
    7. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    8. National Alliance to End Homelessness
    9. NPR
    10. The Military Wallet
    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Alexis Curls

    Alexis Curls

    Content Marketing Manager

    Alexis Curls is a content strategist on the Today’s Homeowner team. She specializes in home services research. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations.

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    Kristina Zagame

    Senior Staff Writer

    Kristina Zagame is a journalist with a background in finance, home improvement and solar energy. She aims to simplify data and information so homeowners feel well-equipped to take on their dream home projects.

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