Study: More Homeless Children Now Than Any Point in US History
The annual levels of homelessness among children have never been higher in the United States, according to a new comprehensive report released on Monday.
Prepared by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the report— (pdf)—shows that with poverty and inequality soaring in recent years, approximately 2.5 million children in 2013 found themselves without a roof over their head or place to call home. That number equals one in 30 American children nationally, and constitutes an 8 percent increase over the previous year.
“Child homelessness has reached epidemic proportions in America,” said Dr. Carmela DeCandia, director of the NCFH, in a statement. “Children are homeless to night in every city, county and state — in every part of our nation.”
Based on federal and other available data and broken down by state, the analysis shows that homelessness among children varies widely depending on geography. The report includes an index ranking based on four basic criteria: 1) the extent of child homelessness (adjusted for population); 2) general well-being of the children; 3) risk for family homelessness; and 4) state policies designed to combat the problem. Ranked from 1-50, the states with the best scores were Minnesota, Nebraska and Massachusetts. The worst states for homeless children were Alabama, Mississippi and California.
The report cites the major drivers behind the crisis, which include: 1) the nation’s high poverty rate; 2) a lack of affordable housing across the nation; 3) the continuing impacts of the Great Recession; 4) racial disparities; 5) the challenges of single parenting; and 6) the ways in which traumatic experiences, especially domestic violence, precede and prolong homelessness for families.
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