World Mayor nominations
Poverty is a crime against humanity
• Support mayors who fight poverty
• Nominate the best for the 2020 World Mayor Prize

Homelessness in US cities:
California is facing a crisis

By City Mayors research


ON THIS PAGE: California has nine times as many homeless as Florida ||| US cities with most homeless people ||| US cities with the highest homelessness rates ||| US homelessness by gender ||| US homelessness by race ||| Sources |||


From City Mayors' archive: Economists question 'official' poverty statistics used for US mayors' report ||| American mayors take action to reduce poverty |||




FRONT PAGE
About us






ON OTHER US PAGES
The strengths and weaknesses of US cities during a pandemic MORE

Homelessness in US cities: California is facing a crisis MORE

Mayors of largest US cities (2020) MORE

US mayoral elections November 2019 MORE

US Mayors running for President MORE

US cities are waking up to the harm done by trauma in childhood and adult life MORE

In the US, cities lead in fighting poverty MORE

Corrupt US mayors MORE

Mass shootings in the USA MORE

US mayors to protect DREAMers MORE

America's undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes MORE


In the US, cities lead in fighting poverty MORE

Spatial Planning and Development in the USA:
Economic growth is of paramount importance MORE

The ups and downs of Amazon’s
search for a second headquarter MORE

American public and mayors agree:
Keep Obamacare, forget Trumpcare MORE

More public involvement in law
enforcement needed to ease strain
between police and US communities MORE

American cities save money
by replacing obsolete urban
infrastructure with green spaces MORE


California has nine times as
many homeless as Florida
February 2020: At the beginning of this year, more than half a million Americans were homeless. After a decade of decline, homelessness in the US started to rise again in 2016. It now stands at 568,000, with 63 per cent of that total living in sheltered accommodation. The national increase is primarily due to a leap in homelessness in California where it grew by 16.4 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

In terms of absolute numbers, California has more than half - 53 per cent - of all unsheltered homeless people in the US. In 2019, the West Coast state registered 108,400 people as homeless, nearly nine times as many as Florida, the state with the second highest number of homeless. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly a quarter of all people experiencing homelessness live in either New York or Los Angeles. Seattle, San Jose and San Diego.

Unlike in New York, most of California's homeless people are sleeping rough. Research found that an estimated 71.7 per cent of the homeless in California are unsheltered, compared to just 4.4 per cent in New York City.


US cities with most homeless people
City
No of homeless people
New York City (NY)
78,604
Los Angeles, City & County (CA)
56,257
Seattle with King County (WA)
11,199
San Jose & Santa Clara (CA)
9.706
San Diego, City & County (CA)
8,102
San Francisco (CA)
8,035
Oakland & Berkeley (CA)
8,022
Santa Ana & Anaheim (CA)
8,022
Phoenix & Mesa (AZ)
6,614
Washington (DC)
6,521
2019 data


US cities with the highest homelessness rates
With 432 homeless people per 100,000 residents, Eugene in Oregon has by far the highest per capita rate of homelessness. The corresponding figures for Los Angeles and New York City are 397 and 394. Of the 32 US cities examined, only Columbus (OH) has a per capita rate of less than 100.

Between 2014 and 2018, homelessness increased in Minneapolis / St Paul, Sacramento, Amarillo and Los Angeles. Cities that experienced significant falls of homelessness include Savannah, Fresno, Denver and Battle Creek.
City (State)
Homeless people
per 100,000 residents*
Rise / Fall between
2014-2018
Eugene (OR)
432
-12.4%
Los Angeles (CA)
397
+37.4%
New York City (NY)
394
+16.9%
San Jose (CA)
363
-6.5%
Seattle (WA)
349
+23.0%
Anchorage (AK)
274
+6.6%
Las Vegas (NV)
273
-24.8%
San Francisco (CA)
261
+12.1%
Savannah (GA)
259
-26.9%
San Diego (CA)
257
-2.0%
Reno-Sparks (NV)
254
+45.3%
Vallejo (CA)
253
-16.2%
Amarillo (TX)
250
+44.6%
Tallahassee (FL)
236
+10.0%
Napa (CA)
231
+13.9%
Stockton (CA)
224
+0.3%
Spokane (WA)
217
+1.9%
Fresno (CA)
216
-20.0%
Colorado Springs (CO)
210
+18.2%
Visalia (CA)
208
+23.9%
Denver (CO)
181
-24.6%
Battle Creek (MI)
175
-16.7%
Topeka (KS)
175
-1.4%
St Joseph (MO)
161
+2.6%
Sacramento (CA)
154
+41.0%
Albuquerque (NM)
146
+5.6%
Boston (MA)
138
+0.5%
Springfield (IL)
131
+2.7%
Minneapolis / St Paul (MN)
122
+68.7%
Tulsa (OK)
109
+4.7%
Manchester (NH)
103
+2.8%
Columbus (OH)
86
+6.4%
2018 data


US homelessness by gender
Male
60.2%
Female
39.1%
n/a
0.7%
2018 data


US homelessness by race
White Americans are underrepresented in total homelessness, accounting for just under half of all homeless people but more than 72 per cent of all US residents. Blacks are highly overrepresented among the homeless population, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of all homeless people but only about 13 per cent of the total US population.
White
48.9%
Black
39.8%
Native American
2.8%
Pacific Islanders
1.5%
Asian
1.2%
Multiracial
5.9%
2018 data

Sources: US Department of Housing and Urban Development (2019), Security.org (2014 – 2018) and others


Mayors fighting Poverty