This state has the worst homeless problem

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  This state has the worst homeless problem

Though estimates are constantly in flux, the latest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data indicates there are more than 575,000 people in the U.S. who are considered homeless. To put that in perspective, that’s larger than the total populations of many major cities, including Atlanta, Miami and Sacramento, California.



But where are these homeless people located? To answer this, LendingTree used HUD data to look at the states with the largest and smallest homeless populations. In doing so, we found that areas with higher house prices tend to have proportionally higher numbers of homeless people.



Ultimately, our findings make clear that many people in the U.S. don’t have a home to call their own.



Image Credit: Rawf8 / istockphoto.



Key findings



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • In each of the nation’s 50 states, people who are homeless don’t exceed 0.5% of the population. In the District of Columbia, that figure is 0.9%. While this suggests that homelessness isn’t particularly prevalent in most of the U.S., it doesn’t diminish the struggle that the more than 575,000 homeless people in America face.


  • States with more expensive housing tend to have proportionally higher homeless populations. While expensive housing can exacerbate homelessness, it’s important to note that other, more complex factors — including substance abuse or health problems — can be key drivers behind why people become homeless.


  • An average of 72.74% of homeless people across the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia stay in shelters. The share of sheltered homeless people is highest in New York state at 95.01%, but it’s considerably lower in California at 29.64%.




Image Credit: Ausettha / istockphoto.



51. North Dakota



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 541


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 93.72%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.07%


  • Median home price: $205,200




Image Credit: sequential5.



50. Wyoming



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 612


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 79.90%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.11%


  • Median home price: $236,600




Image Credit: dschreiber29.



49. South Dakota



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,058


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 76.75%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.12%


  • Median home price: $188,900




Image Credit: RiverNorthPhotography.



48. Rhode Island



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,104


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 90.22%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.10%


  • Median home price: $302,200




Image Credit: danlogan.



47. Mississippi



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,107


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 52.48%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.04%


  • Median home price: $135,100




Image Credit: stevegeer.



46. Vermont



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,110


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 89.73%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.18%


  • Median home price: $235,000




Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.



45. Delaware



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,165


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 87.12%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.12%


  • Median home price: $272,200




Image Credit: mdgmorris.



44. West Virginia



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,341


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 79.34%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $130,500




Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.



43. Montana



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,545


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 70.23%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.14%


  • Median home price: $272,600




Image Credit: YinYang.



42. New Hampshire



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,675


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 79.22%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.12%


  • Median home price: $297,800




Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.



41. Alaska



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 1,949


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 88.51%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.27%


  • Median home price: $288,100




Image Credit: Chilkoot.



40. Maine



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 2,097


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 93.28%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.16%


  • Median home price: $211,000




Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.



39. Idaho



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 2,315


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 54.95%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.13%


  • Median home price: $290,400




Image Credit: knowlesgallery.



38. Arkansas



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 2,366


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 46.20%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $141,800




Image Credit: danthi66 / iStock.



37. Nebraska



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 2,404


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 94.05%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.12%


  • Median home price: $181,900




Image Credit: marekuliasz.



36. Kansas



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 2,449


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 80.32%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $166,200




Image Credit: Michael Pham.



35. Iowa



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 2,647


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 87.42%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $164,000




Image Credit: JoeChristensen.



34. Connecticut



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 2,905


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 88.81%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $287,500




Image Credit: traveler1116.



33. Utah



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 3,131


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 77.52%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.10%


  • Median home price: $360,800




Image Credit: AndreyKrav.



32. Louisiana



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 3,173


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 63.66%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.07%


  • Median home price: $174,000




Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.



31. New Mexico



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 3,333


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 62.23%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.16%


  • Median home price: $188,000




Image Credit: Davel5957.



30. Alabama



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 3,351


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 61.24%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.07%


  • Median home price: $162,300




Image Credit: James Deitsch.



29. Oklahoma



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 3,932


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 68.36%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.10%


  • Median home price: $152,500




Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.



28. Kentucky



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 4,011


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 76.86%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.09%


  • Median home price: $160,700




Image Credit: Thomas Kelley.



27. South Carolina



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 4,287


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 60.25%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $189,500




Image Credit: SeanPavonePhoto.



26. Wisconsin



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 4,515


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 92.82%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $212,600




Image Credit: FierceAbin.



25. Indiana



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 5,625


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 82.83%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $163,500




Image Credit: f11photo. Book of Mercenaries: Varden Dawngrasp Guide And Boss Strategy



24. Virginia



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 5,957


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 83.75%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.07%


  • Median home price: $305,100




Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.



23. Maryland



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 6,360


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 80.57%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.11%


  • Median home price: $344,700




Image Credit: James_Lane.



22. District of Columbia



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 6,380


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 89.76%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.90%


  • Median home price: $672,700




Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.



21. Hawaii



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 6,458


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 43.48%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.46%


  • Median home price: $648,000




Image Credit: Art Wager.



20. Missouri



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 6,527


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 74.75%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.11%


  • Median home price: $176,000




Image Credit: eyecrave.



19. Nevada



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 6,900


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 39.00%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.22%


  • Median home price: $333,000




Image Credit: AlizadaStudios.



18. Tennessee



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 7,256


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 61.63%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.11%


  • Median home price: $203,400




Image Credit: Swarmcatcher.



17. Minnesota



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 7,940


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 75.45%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.14%


  • Median home price: $263,300




Image Credit: JoeChristensen.



16. Michigan



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 8,638


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 87.97%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.09%


  • Median home price: $179,500




Image Credit: haveseen.



15. North Carolina



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 9,280


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 72.44%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.09%


  • Median home price: $207,300




Image Credit: ” Darwin Brandis”.



14. New Jersey



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 9,662


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 81.57%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.11%


  • Median home price: $364,300




Image Credit: Ultima_Gaina / istockphoto.



13. Colorado



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 9,846


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 70.41%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.17%


  • Median home price: $415,700




Image Credit: Jacob Boomsma / istockphoto.



12. Georgia



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 10,234


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 59.39%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.10%


  • Median home price: $218,600




Image Credit: SeanPavonePhoto.



11. Illinois



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 10,431


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 78.16%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.08%


  • Median home price: $214,300




Image Credit: ibsky.



10. Ohio



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 10,655


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 82.69%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.09%


  • Median home price: $164,000




Image Credit: dypics.



9. Arizona



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 10,979


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 49.71%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.15%


  • Median home price: $278,400




Image Credit: wanderluster.



8. Pennsylvania



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 13,375


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 86.12%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.10%


  • Median home price: $203,800




Image Credit: weaver1234.



7. Oregon



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 14,655


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 39.43%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.35%


  • Median home price: $373,500




Image Credit: HaizhanZheng.



6. Massachusetts



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 17,975


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 92.80%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.26%


  • Median home price: $439,800




Image Credit: Rolf_52.



5. Washington



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 22,923


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 52.82%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.30%


  • Median home price: $419,500




Image Credit: 4nadia.



4. Texas



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 27,229


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 51.48%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.09%


  • Median home price: $214,400




Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.



3. Florida



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 27,487


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 53.90%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.13%


  • Median home price: $261,500




Image Credit: Elisa.rolle.



2. New York



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 91,271


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 95.01%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.47%


  • Median home price: $353,100




Image Credit: Boogich.



1. California



This state has the worst homeless problem





  • Number of homeless people: 161,548


  • Share of homeless people in shelters: 29.64%


  • Share of homeless people as a percentage of the total population: 0.41%


  • Median home price: $593,400




Image Credit: mlauffen.



The causes of — and solutions to — homelessness are complex



This state has the worst homeless problem



On the surface, the way to solve America’s homelessness problem may appear relatively straightforward.



For example, as our study shows, the number of people who are homeless tends to be proportionally higher in states where home prices are more expensive. With that in mind, it may be tempting to conclude that reducing home prices is all that’s needed to end homelessness. Similarly, one might also conclude that using some of the nation’s millions of vacant housing units to house those without a place to call home may be another relatively straightforward way to keep people off the streets and out of shelters.



However, these solutions ignore the underlying complexity behind the problem of homelessness in America.



Though some unhoused Americans would likely benefit from finding more affordable homes in their area, many homeless people are so because of issues like substance abuse, mental or physical illness. Merely placing people who struggle with these types of problems in empty houses might keep them off the streets, but it would do little to address real reasons why they ended up homeless in the first place.



With that in mind, it becomes clear that ending homelessness is much more complicated than it might initially appear. Not only do we have to find places for those without homes to live, but we must also take steps to address the nonfinancial reasons why people are on the streets.



Building more affordable housing and relocating some empty homes to those who need them are certainly important tools in combating poverty. But without taking into consideration the social elements of homelessness, the problem is unlikely to ever be resolved.



Image Credit: chameleonseye / istockphoto.



Tips for those who may be facing homelessness



This state has the worst homeless problem



Although some people can become homeless through virtually no fault of their own, those in a difficult situation can keep the following tips in mind to potentially reduce their chance of finding themselves without a place to live:





  • Apply for low-income housing. There are many low-income housing options available from various organizations, including HUD and local housing authorities throughout the U.S. By seeking out and applying to rent or buy these types of low-income homes, you may be able to better avoid losing your house. Keep in mind that getting approved to live in low-income housing can be a competitive and time-consuming process, so the sooner you start looking for low-income housing, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to find and secure it.


  • Ask your lender or landlord about mortgage or lease modification options. If you’re experiencing a major financial hardship and finding that you’re falling behind on your rent or mortgage payments, you may be able to have your lease or mortgage terms modified in some way. For example,

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