Global Homelessness Statistics
GLOBAL HOMELESSNESS STATISTICS
To help our supporters better understand this global problem, we have sought to compile the latest available statistics on the challenges faced by people around the globe.
The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing (Habitat, 2015).
Getting an accurate picture of global homelessness is extremely challenging. Definitions of homelessness vary from country to country. Census data is typically collected based on household and, while most census data takes into account those living in shelters and receiving government aid, census takers struggle to count the “hidden homeless” – those who may be residing in inadequate settlements such as slums, squatting in structures not intended for housing, couch surfing with friends and family, and those who relocate frequently.
Approximately 45% of the country’s 20 million population live below the poverty line. Women, boys and girls aged 6-59 months and the elderly are the most affected by persistent food and nutrition insecurity, especially in rural areas. (World Food Programme, 2018)
Insecurity due to long-running tensions in the North-West and South-West have forced more than 430,000 people to flee their homes. More than 380,000 people need shelter, and some 418,000 people need NFI assistance.
An estimated 3,000 children suffering from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM) require urgent treatment.
The humanitarian situation has fast deteriorated, with estimates stating a total of 1.3 million people are in need of assistance. (Relief Web/UNOCHA, 2019)
95% of the population is concentrated in a narrow strip of fertile land along the Nile River, which represents only about 5% of Egypt’s land area.
27.8% of the population live below the poverty line. (CIA, 2019)
Experiencing rapid population growth and urbanisation, Guinea is struggling with providing sufficient housing. In 2012, only 31.5% of the population had shelter with permanent walls. Standard of living in the towns is low, with poor sewage management and rainwater drainage, and bad access to drinking water (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2013-2015).
The housing deficit is estimated at 40,000 units per year, and urbanisation keeps worsening the problem. In rural areas, many people live in temporary structures made of wood and mud, which require extensive maintenance and repair and which are often highly flammable.
Around 68% of the population live in slums (Urban Habitat, 2014).
There are around 250,000 people without homes in Nairobi alone (Street Children).
It is estimated that there are 250,000-300,000 children living and working on the streets of Kenya (IRIN News, 2007). In the slums of Nairobi, people live in illegal temporary structures which can be demolished at any time by the government. They rarely have sanitary facilities, although the standard of dwellings can vary between different slums.
In 2007, 63.8% of the population lived below the national poverty line (World Bank, 2014).
Landlords often charge exorbitant rates for accommodation in slums (OPIC, 2012). Many people live in slums, with no access to drinking water or sanitation services (IRIN News, 2009). Less than half of the capital’s population has some sort of permanent accommodation (OPIC, 2012).
More than 80% of the population lack adequate housing (UNDP, 2012). It is estimated that there are around 200,000 children constantly living in difficult housing circumstances. In Bamako, the census on homeless children revealed 4,348 homeless children, but unofficial estimates put the number much higher, up to 6,000 (FAFO, 2005). Internal conflict and international intervention in Mali in 2012 left around 260,000 Malians homeless (Bloomberg, 2012).
There are an estimated 24.4 million homeless people in Nigeria. This is a consequence of many factors, including rapid urbanisation and poverty (UNHCR, 2007), and currently mainly the terror by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Some 650,000 Nigerians were displaced internally due to the conflict and 70,000 more are refugees in neighbouring countries (UNHCR, 2014).
There is a housing deficit of 2.5 million homes, and 7.5 million South Africans lack access to adequate housing. Millions of those who do have homes live in small, wooden shacks built in informal settlements (IRIN News, 2007). Due to high commuting costs, many people who have homes on the periphery prefer to sleep in the streets of the large municipal inner cities where they work (Du Toit, 2010).
More than 32% of Togo’s population live in poverty (SOS Children’s Villages). According to AJDD, about 100,000 people are homeless in Togo, half of them residing in Lome solely. The regular floods in the region result in tens of thousands people displaced and vulnerable to homelessness every year (UFC Togo, 1999).
Homelessness has been growing steadily in urban areas since the 1980s. In 2000, an estimated 3% of the urban population was homeless (United Nations, 2000).
According to the 2014 Census provisional results, about half a million people counted had no household, which includes those living in hotels, institutions, and homeless or floating population.
Due to rapid urbanisation and poverty, Zambia is facing a serious shortage of housing. About 80% of houses are informal and have inadequate access to basic services (UN Habitat, 2008). About half a million young children live on the streets (SOS Children’s Villages).
In 2014, floods left around 20,000 people homeless (Floodlist, 2014).
More than 72% of Zimbabweans live below the poverty line (CIA World Factbook, 2012), and 62% of the households have also been deemed poor (UN, 2011). The country’s unemployment rate was estimated a 11.3% in 2014, this however, is believed to be a huge underestimation, since the country’s conditions prevent from accurate data gathering.
The national housing shortage is estimated at more than 1 million, with more than 1.2 million people on the government’s national housing waiting list.
ASIA AND OCEANIA
According to AHURI, there were 116,427 people experiencing homelessness in Australia as of August 2016. This is an increase of 13.7% since 2011. On any given night, one in 200 people in Australia are homeless (Homelessness Australia, 2017).
For different age groups, the biggest number increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 is for people aged 25–34, with an increase of 5,813 people (AHURI, 2018).
About 40% of the population lives in subsidised housing. Around 100,000 live in “coffin homes,” “cage homes” and on rooftops (Feeding Hong Kong, The Global Mail, 2013). An estimated 1,400 homeless people live in Hong Kong, with the primary cause being a lack of affordable housing (City University of Hong Kong, 2014).
India is estimated to be the home to 78 million homeless people, including 11 million street children (Business Standard, 2013; Slum Dogs). According to the 2011 census, there were 28% less homeless people from rural areas and 20% less homeless people living in the cities as compared to 2001 (Dr. Kumuda, 2014).
The authorities report around 2,000 people living on the streets, but it is estimated that there are another 1,000 whose cases have not been recorded. Because of the limited definition of homelessness, there are around 10,000 people in insecure housing conditions who do not meet the criteria for social housing (Haaretz, 2011).
An estimated 25,000 people are homeless in Japan, 5,000 of whom live in Tokyo (International Network of Street Papers, 2006). There are also around three million “Internet cafe refugees” who move from café to café each night.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been in influx of migrants from rural areas to big cities, such as Bishkek or Osh. About 70% of 5.4 million people in Kyrgyzstan live in substandard housing. In 2005, more than 30,000 people in Bishkek declared they were homeless (Habitat.org). Around 20 to 30% of the urban population live in illegal settlements, where they have no social and civil rights.
A quarter of the population lives below the national poverty line (World Bank, 2012). It is estimated that around 44% of the urban population live in slums (UN Habitat, 2008). The capital, Manila, has the largest homeless population of any city in the world – 3.1 million. An estimated 1.2 million children in the Philippines sleep rough, with 70,000 in Manila (IBT, 2014).
The South Korean government classified over 11,000 people nationwide as homeless in 2017, with 1,520 living on the street, 9,330 living in nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and 493 in temporary facilities (Korea Bizwire, 2017).
14.4% of South Koreans, roughly 7.2 million people, live vulnerably below the poverty line (CIA, 2016).
According to country’s Social Ministry, there were 15,090 people registered as homeless in Austria as of 2016. This is up from 12,050 in 2014. This number does not include rough sleepers who are not registered. Around 70% of all people experiencing homelessness live in Vienna.
There is also a major crisis in refugee accommodation currently in Austria. In 2015, approximately 85,000 refugees asked for protection. In 2016, 22,000 asylum seekers were still being housed in the Federal Care Scheme. Statistics show that 80% of refugees leaving the Federal Care Scheme (Bundesbetreuung) are at risk of ending up homeless, according to FEANTSA, 2017.
From one count in 2016, there were 3,386 people experiencing homelessness in Brussels. This is a 96% increase since 2008.
In Flanders in 2014, there were 764 in winter emergency accommodation, 4,694 houseless people including 1,675 children, and 599 people threatened with eviction counted during a one month survey.
In Wallonia, 5,638 people used the emergency accommodation scheme in 2016. (FEANTSA, 2019, p.98)
Over 2.2 million people were displaced during and after the Bosnian War, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. As a result of the war, approximately 99,000 were still living in displacement in 2017 (IDMC, 2018).
16.9% of the population live on or below the poverty line (World Bank, 2017).
The unemployment rate as of 2017 was 20.5% (CIA, 2019).
In September 2013, 1,370 people were registered as homeless, but the real number is likely much higher since this only accounts for people with government-issued IDs who have signed up in those facilities. The most vulnerable people at risk of homelessness are refugees, the Roma minority, elderly, and young people out of foster homes. (Borgen Project, 2019).
More than 40 per cent of Bulgarians are at risk of poverty and social exclusion (Irish Times, 2018). The population living below the poverty line is currently 23.4% (CIA World Factbook, 2019). Currently 12.9% of people suffer from severe housing deprivation (FEANTSA, 2019).
Croatian Homeless Network reports that there are around 10,000 homeless people in Croatia. According to UNHCR (2015), there are almost 3,000 stateless (not necessarily homeless) persons in Croatia, and almost 20,000 people who constitute a population of concern and are socially vulnerable (such as refugees and asylum seekers).
In 2011, 5,290 people were registered as homeless in a given week. In 2010, more than 6,000 individuals stayed in homeless hostels (FEANTSA, 2012). However, experts estimate that 10,000 to 15,000 homeless people live in Denmark, about half of which are in the Copenhagen metropolitan area (Humanity in Action, 2001).
In a single-day survey in 2011, the homeless population of Finland was 7,572. Since the 1980s, there has been a 50% reduction in the number of homeless people across Finland. There have been particular decreases in the number of long-term homeless people as a result of the national homelessness strategy (FEANTSA, 2012).
In 2012, around 103,000 adults in French cities used some form of emergency accommodation or soup kitchen. This number includes 30,000 children. Altogether, 141,500 people were homeless in France in 2012, which is almost a 50% increase from 2001 (INSEE, 2012).
In 2012, more than 284,000 people had nowhere to live, which is a 15% increase compared to 2010, and the numbers are expected to increase by an additional 30% to 380,000 by 2016 (Deutsche Welle, 2014). More than 15% of the people in assistance programs for homelessness were foreigners (Spiegel, 2013).
Approximately 15,000 people are homeless in Hungary, 50% of whom live in Budapest. Between 2006 and 2010, 131 homeless people died of cold or exposure in the capital. In the same period, the number of places at public shelters increased by a third, from 8,200 to 11,100 (The Economist, 2013).
According to the 2011 Census, 3,744 people were in accommodation providing shelter for homeless people and 64 people were sleeping rough. Focus Irelandestimates that there are around 4,500 people homeless at any given time. More than 65,600 people are considered to be unable to reasonably meet the cost of accommodation (FEANTSA, 2012).
During the economic crisis, the rate of homelessness tripled in Italy. In 2014, homelessness in Italy was estimated at 48,000 people, 70% of whom were sleeping rough (FEANTSA, 2012; Deutsche Welle, 2014). The 2012 Census showed that 59.4% of people in shelters for homeless people were immigrants. However, many immigrants and Roma people are not considered homeless since they live in informal settlements (FEANTSA, 2012).
Homelessness has been on the rise in Lithuania. The number of people in shelters for homeless people increased by 25% between 2005 and 2012. In 2012, 5,000 people were homeless on any given night. Approximately 70,000 people were waiting for social housing in 2012, a 4% increase from the previous year (FEANTSA, 2014).
In a single week in February 2006, 715 homeless people were identified in Luxembourg. A 2013 report counted 1,533 people using homeless services in the country. Youth and migrants are increasingly represented amongst the homeless population (FEANSTA, 2014).
In 2012, more than 27,000 people were homeless in the Netherlands. Around 50% of them were migrants and 40% come from non-Western countries. Nearly half of all homeless people are found in the biggest cities: Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, and Rotterdam (CBS, 2010).
Northern Ireland is experiencing the highest rates of homelessness in the United Kingdom, with 5.7% of adults saying they have experienced homelessness. There were 13.4 statutory acceptances of homelessness applications per 1,000 households compared to 2.3 in England, and in 2012/13, more than 19,400 households were reported to be homeless (Belfast Telegraph, 2014).
Most homeless people live in metropolitan areas such as Lisbon and Porto. Estimates in 2010 placed the homeless population at 3,000 people, but there is a lack of systematic statistics (FEANTSA, 2012).
Since the beginning of the economic crisis in 2008, the number of homeless people has risen by 30% (Portugal News Online, 2011).
There is no national homelessness data collection strategy in Romania. The only study was conducted in 2004, when the homeless population was estimated 14,000 to 15,000 people (FEANTSA, 2012). In Bucharest alone, there were approximately 6,000 homeless people, including 1,000 children (Deutsche Welle, 2013).
According to the government’s estimates, five million people are homeless in Russia (3.5% of the population), one million of whom are children and 50,000 of whom live in Moscow (IBT, 2014). It is not clear whether these numbers include four million “invisible people” (those who do not possess registration or “propiska”). Winters are especially problematic for homeless people in Russia – in Saint-Petersburg alone, 1,042 homeless people died in the winter of 2012/13 (One Europe, 2014).
In 2013/14, 36,457 households made homeless applications to their local council in Scotland, a 34% decrease since 2009/10. Young people under 25 represent just under a third of applicants (Shelter Scotland, 2014). In 2014/15, homelessness applications fell as a result of homelessness prevention services rather than a change in the underlying social and economic factors that lead to homelessness (The Scottish Government, 2015).
The Ministry of Labour, Family, and Social Affairs estimated in their 2010 study that the number of homeless people ranged between 1,000 and 1,500, with 600 of them living in the capital, Ljubljana (Siol.net, 2012). However, at the end of 2014, the official estimates said there were more than 4,000 homeless people, excluding hidden homelessness (Svet 24, 2015).
It is estimated that there are around 40,000 homeless people and additional 1.5 million families living in shelters. However, the official figure is 23,000 homeless people. In 2012, 11.7 million people (3.8 million households) were affected by different processes of social exclusion, 4.4 million more than in 2007 (RAIS Fundación, 2014).
A Swedish national mapping of homelessness took place over one week in 2017, finding 33,250 people homeless, 18% of whom were described as “acutely homeless” (National Board of Health and Welfare, 2018).
Roughly 15% of Sweden’s population, 1.5 million, lives below the poverty line, meaning they lack the level of income to meet minimum living conditions (CIA, 2019).
Although less visible, homelessness does exist. 7% of permanent residents live in poverty in terms of income (BFS, 2015). The poverty rate of foreigners from non-European countries is significantly higher at 11.7% (BFS, 2015).
In April 2019 Zurich-based homeless shelter Pastor Sieber Emergency Sleeping Centre reported its second highest winter occupancy since its opening in 2002, with 4,801 overnight stays (Diakone Schweiz, 2019).
Unemployment rate in Ukraine is estimated at 9.2% (CIA World Factbook, 2017), and an estimated 3.8% of the population is living below the poverty line, more than 1.5 million people. Since the conflict in Donbas in the eastern region of Ukraine in 2014, 2.7 million persons have been displaced and over 4 million directly affected by continuing hostilities (World Bank, 2018).
A persisting problem is the legacy of the “propiska” (registration) system from the Soviet period – if a person loses their place of residence, they are left without any civil, economic, and social rights. A lack of “propiska” which is both a residency permit and a migration tool, results in a person having no entitlement to healthcare, education, employment, and other basic services. Those without “propiska” are practically non-existent for municipal and state authorities (OCF Way Home).
In 2017/18, 11,277 households were assessed as homeless and owed a duty to help secure accommodation. In 2017-18, 9,072 households were threatened with homelessness within 56 days.
At the end of March 2018, there were 2,052 households in temporary accommodation. 801 households were families with children (Welsh Government, 2017/18).
NORTH / CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
It is estimated that more than 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year, with more than 35,000 Canadians homeless on any given night. Between 13,000 and 33,000 Canadians are chronically homeless. The majority of homeless people stay in either emergency shelters or in some sort of provisional accommodation, while there are believed to be around 5,000 homeless people who are unsheltered (Homeless Hub, 2014). The first coordinated homelessness count will take place in 2016 (ESDC, 2015).
The municipality of San José estimates that more than 1,800 people are homeless. According to the official statistics, around 5,300 families lived in slums in 2009. In 2009, the earthquake left many families homeless and natural disasters pose a serious threat in terms of losing home (Habitat Costa Rica, 2010; The Tico Times, 2014).
People are left without homes primarily due to hurricanes. In 2004, one of the worst hurricanes in the history damaged 90% of the homes and left approximately 60,000 people (more than half of the population) homeless (Red Cross, 2004).
In 2013, the housing deficit in Honduras amounted for around one million homes (El Heraldo, 2014). Especially the number of street children has been growing constantly. Between 8 to 12% of all children (between 200,000 – 300,000 children) under the age of 18 are working or living on the streets (FCH, 2014). Nine out of ten children who live on the streets suffer different kinds of abuse (La Prensa, 2013).
More than 553,700 people were homeless on a single night across the US, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (BBC, 2017).
More than 40 million people were living in poverty, and 18.5 million were living in deep poverty, with reported family income below one-half of the poverty threshold. (UNHR, 2017).
The implications of the great recession are still felt. An estimated 3.2 million jobs were eliminated, and 1.2 million homes foreclosed upon following during the financial crash between 2007-2009 (Portland State University, 2018).
In a population of 210 million, it is estimated that more than 50 million Brazilians live in inadequate conditions (Habitat, 2017).
According to the Perseu Abramo Foundation, there were 101,854 people living on the streets in 2015 (FPAbramo, 2017).
Unemployment was at 12.8% as of 2017, which increased from 11.3% in 2016. The unemployment rate among people aged 15-24 is 30.2%. The population living below the poverty line is 4.2%, although approximately 4% of the population are below the ‘extreme’ poverty line (CIA, 2018).
In Rio de Janeiro, the Municipal Office of Social Assistance estimate there are 14,200 people homeless in the city. This marks a 150% increase in three years (Rio Times, 2017).
More than 12,000 people are homeless in Chile, 5,500 of whom live in Santiago (Santiago Times, 2014).
5.9 million Colombians have been violently displaced as a result of conflict (CODHES, 2014). As a result, 3.8 million households, nearly 30% of all families in Colombia, lack adequate homes (Ministry of Housing estimates from 2013), and 662,146 families are homeless, or 5% of the population.
Paraguay has an unemployment rate of 5.7% and 22.2% of the population are living below the poverty line(CIA World Fact Book, 2015).
According to the National Department of Housing, it is estimated that 1.1 million houses are required in Paraguay, and that number is increasing. An estimated 43 out of every 100 families live in inadequate housing conditions, according to the Inter-American Development Bank. (Habitat, 2018).
In 2015 Paraguay suffered the worst flooding in 50 years, which forced 130,000 people to flee their homes (BBC, 2015).
Peru’s poverty rate is at 21.7% according to the World Bank. An estimated 375,000 Peruvians joined the ranks of the poor, which state statistics agency INEI defines as an individual surviving on less than 338 soles ($105) per month. An estimated 6.9 million Peruvians now live in poverty, 44% of whom are in rural Peru (Reuters, 2018).
During 2017, relief agencies estimated that 700,000 people in Peru were made homeless due to landslides and floods caused by unusually heavy rains (LATimes, 2017). There are more than 560,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Peru (UNHCR, 2018).
In Venezuela 90% of the population live in poverty. A rate exacerbated by failed economic policies and a plunge in global oil prices (INE).
Since 2014 more than 3.4 million Venezuelans have left the country – one of the largest cases of forced displacement in the western hemisphere. On average, in 2018, 5,000 people left Venezuela every day according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the UN migration agency (IOM). An estimated 2.7 million Venezuelans are hosted in Latin America and Caribbean countries (IOM, 2019).