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 70% from SY 2013–14 to SY 2016–17. The number of homeless students living doubled up in Connecticut increased by 60%, while New Mexico’s unsheltered homeless student population nearly quadrupled during the same period. While rural homelessness increased by 11% nationwide, states like Montana and Nebraska experienced growth in rural student homelessness of over 100%.

Within a 13% national increase in the number of homeless students with limited English proficiency, Louisiana saw an increase of 250%. While child homelessness is a nationwide crisis, with over 1.35 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 by 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 doubled-up with family or friends; or explore data on homeless children with disabilities, and homeless students who have limited English language proficiency. Click through the tool below to learn about student homelessness in your community.

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: