Data and Methodology

Where is the data from?

National and statewide data: National Center for Homeless Education, Federal Data Summary School Years 2013–14 to 2015–16, Education for Homeless Children and Youth, December 2017; U.S. Department of Education, Homeless Student Enrollment Data by Local Educational Agency School Year 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16.


LEA data: U.S. Department of Education, Homeless Student Enrollment Data by Local Educational Agency School Year 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16; National Center for Education Statistics, Local Education Agency (School District) Universe Survey Directory Data, SY 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16; National Center for Education Statistics, Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE) Program, Geographic Indicators and Identifiers 2013–2014, 2014–15, 2015–16.


How can I use this data?

It is our goal to shine a light on the prevalence of student homelessness in the United States.  Whether you are an educator, a policymaker, a social worker, or a concerned parent and citizen, we encourage you to explore our website.  By sharing data on the local, state, and national levels, we hope to provide the evidence base necessary to create sound policies and practices regarding homeless students.  We want this data to be accessible to all, because everyone has a stake in the wellbeing of our nation’s homeless students.


Why do some states have overlapping school districts?

Many states have overlapping school districts because they have elementary, secondary, and unified school districts.  The states that show no overlap have only unified school districts, meaning that children in that area are enrolled in the same school district throughout their time in the public school system.  Other states have separate elementary and secondary school districts, whose borders may overlap because they serve different age groups living in the same geographic district.


Why are there gray areas on some of the state-level maps?

Gray areas indicate that either the school district did not report any homeless students in the subgroup selected, or the number of homeless students has been suppressed.  To protect the privacy of students, a school district’s data has been suppressed if the number of homeless students is less than 3.


How are cities, suburbs, towns, and rural areas defined?

Cities, suburbs, towns, and rural areas were defined using standard urban and rural designations defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.  An LEA is located in a city if it is inside an urbanized area of at least 50,000 residents and inside of a principal city.  A suburb is inside of an urbanized area of at least 50,000 residents, but outside of a principal city.  A town is a community inside of an urban cluster of 2,500–50,000 residents.  Rural areas are territories that do not fall into the categories of urbanized area or urban cluster.


Why can’t I see New York City LEAs on the New York State map?

New York City has 34 school districts that are not included in the map, but whose data are included in all other analyses.  ICPH has created a separate interactive map of student homelessness, which can be accessed here.

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