Statistics and Homeless Students

Uto Elemenary School

Here are some samples from the mystifying patchwork that answers the question of how many children are experiencing homelessness in the United States. Some sentences just give numbers from various cities, while others include interesting details, and the sources for those are in the end notes.

● 2010, Pennsylvania — 31,386 homeless children, an increase of 46% (nearly double) from the previous year. Ralph da Costa Nunez wrote:

To put this number in context, that is more than the entire University of Pittsburgh student body…. HCEF [Homeless Children’s Education Fund] has joined with U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton, and together they have made addressing the needs of homeless children a priority, shifting the conversation to rightly define childhood poverty and homelessness as a civil rights struggle.

● December 2010, Washington state — 22,000 homeless students, increased from around 14,000 just four years earlier.

● Mid-2012, Miami-Dade County, Fla. — 4,400 homeless students.

● October 2012, Philadelphia — 5,000 homeless students. The Students Without a Home summit identified available resources to increase youth opportunity in accordance with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act of 1987.

● 2013, Baltimore — 2,800 homeless students, twice as many as five years before.

● 2013, Weld County, Colo. — 800 newly homeless students. After devastating floods, this number was added onto the number of students already homeless because of wildfires and because of the usual reasons that apply anywhere. Ann Schimke wrote:

[T]he district has been spending about $1,000 a day to transport displaced students from temporary quarters to their home schools, in some cases sending buses far afield to pick up students doubled up with relatives or staying in hotels.

● 2013, America — In 10 states, the number of homeless students increased by at least 20%.

● Early 2014, Springfield, Mo. — 727 homeless students.

● February 2014, Bryan Independent School District, Texas — 578 homeless students, up from 316 the previous year.

● February 2014, Washington state — 30,609 homeless students, increased for the sixth year in a row.

● March 2014, Williston, N.D. — 128 homeless students.

● March 2014, Alief Independent School District, Houston — 1,600 homeless students. Shern-Min Chow wrote about kids without an “adequate, stable night time residence”:

Most are constantly moving between relatives and friends…. We have 79 that are in hotels, motels, 50 that are in shelters, around 22 that we do not know and there are roughly 10 that are sleeping in their car, under a tree, they are transient…. Those students still go to school. Free breakfast and lunch on campus, along with gym showers are big draws, but not real solutions…. Directly across the street from Alief Elsik High is one the local apartment complexes that donates or leases units at a discount to homeless students.

● March, 2014, Long Island, N.Y. — over 8,000 homeless students, up from about 2,600 only five years before. NBCNewYork.com quoted an education professional:

Some of the places where we tutor, they don’t have electricity. They don’t even have a light bulb where we can sit a tutor to read with them and do their homework. The problem is a lot more widespread than people understand.


Source: “Pittsburgh: A Model for Addressing Child Homelessness,” HuffingtonPost.com, 05/15/12
Source: “Educational summit about homeless students to be held Friday,” TheNotebook.org, 10/11/12
Source: “Flooding adds thousands of students to district homeless rolls…” chalkbeat.org, 10/04/13
Source: “HISD schools helping homeless students,” KHOU.com, 03/13/14
Source: “Homelessness on Rise Among Long Island Students,” NBCNewYork.com, 03/18/14
Image by Kenta Mabuchi

  1. Katie McCaskey says:

    Amazing… such eye-opening stats. Occasionally you hear of homeless students making their way into Ivy League colleges but the reality that there are so many students without homes is really heartbreaking.