Over half a million Americans are currently homeless. After a period of progress and decline, the U.S. homeless population has increased slightly by three percent according to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It now stands at 567,715 with 63 percent of that total living in sheltered accommodation. The national increase is primarily due to a leap in homelessness in California where it grew 16.4 percent between 2018 and 2019.
More than half of all unsheltered homeless people in the U.S. - some 53 percent - are in California. That's nearly nine times as many as the state with the second-highest total of unsheltered homeless which is Florida. Homelessness is primarily an urban issue and more than half of the homeless population is scattered across the country's 50 biggest cities. Nearly a quarter of them live in just two cities - New York and Los Angeles. Despite its considerable homeless population, New York can at least claim that the vast majority of its rough sleepers are given sheltered accommodation with only 4.4 percent estimated to be living on the streets. The same cannot be said of the state of California where 71.7 percent of all homeless people are unsheltered.
The following infographic shows the top-10 worst cities for homelessness across the U.S. with New York in first place with 78,604. It's important to mention that in this comparison, the data is broken down by CoC - those are Continuums of Care that are local planning bodies coordinating responses to the issue. Los Angeles is in second place with over 56,000 while Seattle/King County comes third with 11,199.