A look at homelessness in the Keystone State, by the numbers | The Numbers Racket

By: - February 13, 2020 6:30 am

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Ranking eighth nationally, Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country.

It’s difficult to get an accurate count of the nation’s homeless population because of its transitory nature. But thanks to data compiled by the Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, we have a detailed estimate of what the issue looks like. 

As of January 2019, the Keystone state had 13,512 people experiencing homelessness, according to a single-night point-in-time count, with an estimated 13,199 of them experiencing homelessness on any given day in 2018, according to HUD.

Here’s the breakdown: 

The Top 10 states with people experiencing homelessness (total; percentage of population)


  • California – 129,972; (23.55%)
  • New York – 91,897; (16.65%)
  • Florida – 31,030; (5.62%)
  • Texas – 25,310; (4.59%)
  • Washington – 22,304; (4.04%)
  • Massachusetts – 20,068; (3.64%)
  • Oregon – 14,476; (2.62%)
  • Pennsylvania – 13,512; (2.45%)
  • Colorado – 10,857; (1.97%)
  • Illinois – 10,643; (1.93%)


Note: Ranking is based on a point-in-time count. A ranking with total homeless population would move Illinois to the number nine spot and Colorado to 10. The rest of the numbers would vary slightly, but the remaining ranks would stay the same. 

In years past

Pennsylvania’s 13,512 in 2018 is a decrease of 626 people experiencing homelessness from 2017’s 14,138 people. 

In 2016, 15,339 people in Pennsylvania experienced homelessness. 

In 2015, that number was slightly higher with 15,421 Pennsylvanians experiencing homelessness. 

In 2014, 15,333 Pennsylvanians experienced homelessness. 

In Pennsylvania there are …

1,569 … families experiencing homelessness. 

 857 … veterans experiencing homelessness. 

1,863 … people experiencing chronic homelessness.

737 … unaccompanied young adults (18-24) experiencing homelessness. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.