November 30, 2009
While homelessness exists in all places, a majority of people experiencing homelessness are experiencing it in urban areas. Approximately 77 percent of the U.S. homeless population in 2007 was counted in places considered completely urban, and over 60 percent of the homeless population was living in metropolitan areas of greater than 1,000,000 people. Because of this heavy urban bias, trends in homelessness nationally largely reflect trends in urban homelessness. However, closer examination of urban homelessness reveals interesting variation among urban places, particularly when comparing major cities to other urban areas. Between 2005 and 2007 homelessness in major cities increased by 4 percent, while homelessness in other urban areas (smaller cities, suburbs, etc.) as well as the rest of the country decreased by approximately 10 percent. Major cities also have rates of homelessness that are much higher than other urban places. In 2007, major cities had a rate of 43 people per 10,000 compared with 29 people per 10,000 for all urban places and 22 people per 10,000 nationally.