Statistics of Homelessness

Every three years, Wilder Research Center conducts a one-day study of the number of people experiencing homelessness throughout Minnesota. It is the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind in the nation. The Center conducted its latest study on October 26, 2006.

Homelessness in Minnesota
This graph illustrates the increasing numbers of Minnesotans affected by homelessness

Each night, approximately 9,000 individuals experience homelessness. This is little changed from the number who were homeless on any given night in 2003. However, Wilder’s survey results show an increasing level of distress among the homeless, with rising rates of many disabilities.

Of the 9,000 individuals who experience homelessness each night, about 7,000 are “fortunate” enough to receive shelter from a variety of homeless service providers across the state, according to a number of quarterly shelter surveys conducted by the Department of Human Services over the past few years. Unfortunately, due to inadequate resources, sheltering programs turn away about 1,000 individuals each night. Worse yet, neither of these numbers include the hundreds of individuals who spend the night in a place not meant for human habitation, such as under a bridge or in a car.

Children and unaccompanied youth regularly account for nearly half of those sheltered and turned away.

Shelter numbers do not completely represent the homeless population.

Homeless Children and Youth in Minnesota

Challenges and Struggles

Demographics of Homelessness

Homelessness in Rural Minnesota

Just under one-third (20 percent) of Minnesotans experiencing homelessness were living outside the Twin Cities. Homeless adults are similar across the state on many measures, including education levels, ages, how long they have living in Minnesota and their main sources of income. On other measures, however, the picture in Greater Minnesota differs:

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