The United States of Homelessness

Visualizing Child Homelessness:

Last year homelessness affected 1.3 million children in American public schools. 

New York State is home to two-thirds of all homeless students in the Northeast. In the nation’s capital, the homeless student population grew by 66% over 3 years. While rural homelessness increased by 11% nationwide, states like Minnesota experienced a growth of over 50%. The number of homeless students living in shelter in South Dakota doubled over 3 years while New Mexico’s unsheltered homeless student population nearly quadrupled during the same period.

Within a 5% national increase in the number of homeless students with limited English proficiency, Nevada saw an increase of 192%. While child homelessness is a nationwide crisis, with over 1.3 million students identified as homeless across America’s public schools, the nature of that crisis varies greatly across the nation, not only state by state, but district to district.

To visualize these trends and show exactly where and how child homelessness is growing—and to shed light on some of the local characteristics of student homelessness—ICPH developed The United States of Homelessness. This interactive web tool allows users to explore and compare State- and School District-level trends for themselves. Below you can find data on how rural student homeless rates changed compared to other geographical areas; learn what percentage of students reside in shelter versus other arrangements such as double-up with family or friends; or explore data on homeless children with disabilities, and homeless students who have limited English language proficiency.

Explore student homelessness in your community– How It Works:

Using data from the U.S. Department of Education, ICPH created this interactive map to help you explore state-by-state trends in student homelessness. (Learn more about our data and methodology.) To get started: 

  1. Roll over a state to see homelessness numbers and click to zoom in on individual school districts within that state.
  2. Explore the menu below the map to learn more about homeless students in your community.
  3. Check the interactive charts beneath the state map to compare your state and district to neighboring communities.

Additional Resources: