Download & Other Tools
- Definition: Number of homeless students enrolled in public schools.Percentage of homeless students enrolled in public schools (e.g., in 2011, 3.6% of California public school students in grades K-12 were homeless).
- Data Source: National Center for Homeless Education, California: Consolidated State Performance Report: http://nchespp.serve.org/profile/CA.
- Footnote: Students are designated as homeless if their primary nighttime residence is a shelter, hotel or motel, shared space with another family due to economic hardship, or no shelter. Years presented are the final year of a school year (e.g., 2010-2011 is shown as 2011).
- Measures of Homelessness on Kidsdata.org
Kidsdata.org presents the number and percentage of homeless public school students. These data come from the National Center for Homeless Education and are based on the McKinney-Vento Act definition, which includes students whose primary nighttime residence is a shelter, hotel, or motel; who are doubled-up with another family temporarily because of economic hardship; or who are unsheltered. These data only are available at the state level.These data likely underestimate the extent of homelessness among children and youth, because children too young for school and students who have dropped out are excluded from the count of public school students, and locating and counting unsheltered people is notoriously difficult.
- Births to Unmarried Women (California & U.S. Only)
- Child Population
- Children in Rural and Urban Areas (California & U.S. Only)
- Public School Enrollment
- Total Population
- Family Income and Poverty
- Self-Sufficiency Standard
- Children in Poverty - Supplemental Poverty Measure (State & U.S. Only)
- Children in Poverty (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Children in Poverty (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More)
- Children in Poverty (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living Above and Below the Poverty Level (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More), by Income Level
- Children Living Above and Below the Poverty Level (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More), by Income Level
- Children Living Above and Below the Poverty Level (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More), by Income Level
- Children Living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty
- Median Family Income (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Median Family Income (Regions of 20,000 Residents or More)
- Median Family Income (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Low-Income Working Families (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- CalWORKs Recipients
- Food Security
- Dating and Domestic Violence
- Disconnected Youth
- Housing Affordability
- Fair Market Rent, by Unit Size
- Households with a High Housing Cost Burden, by City, School District and County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Living in Crowded Households, by County (65,000 Residents or More)
- Children Drinking One or More Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Per Day
- Children Who Ate Fast Food Two or More Times in the Past Week, by Age Group
- Children Who Eat Five or More Servings of Fruits/Vegetables Daily, by Age Group
- Students Who Ate Breakfast in Past Day, by Grade Level
- Why This Topic Is Important
Homelessness causes severe trauma to children, disrupting their relationships, putting their health and safety at risk, and hampering their development. Homeless children are more likely than other children to have physical and mental health problems, to experience hunger, and to have educational problems (1, 2). Many of these children and youth experience deep poverty, instability and exposure to domestic violence before becoming homeless, and homelessness increases their vulnerability to additional trauma (1, 2). In addition to the risks faced by homeless children, youth without homes are far more likely than their peers to be infected with HIV (3).
According to 2010 estimates from the National Center on Family Homelessness, approximately 1.6 million children ages 0-18 in the U.S., or about 1 in 45, are homeless each year. California alone accounted for 25% or more of all homeless children in the U.S. between 2006 and 2010. California ranked 46th out of the 50 states in the extent of child homelessness in 2010, with 1 being the best and 50 being the worst (1).
Sources for this narrative:
1. National Center on Family Homelessness. (2011). America’s youngest outcasts 2010: State report card on child homelessness. Retrieved from: http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/reportcard.php
2. Bassuk, E. L. & Friedman, S. M. (2005). Facts on trauma and homeless children. National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Retrieved from:
3. National Coalition for the Homeless. (2008). Homeless youth. Retrieved from:
- How Children Are Faring
In 2011, 220,738 California public school students in grades K-12, or 3.6% of all public school students, were reported to be homeless. This percentage has fluctuated in recent years but represents an increase from 2004, when 2.3% of public school students were reported to be homeless.
- Policy Implications
Family homelessness is often associated with extreme poverty, lack of access to affordable housing, weak social networks, and domestic violence (1). Policies to address homelessness can operate at three levels: preventing families from becoming homeless in the first place; intervening early during a first spell of homelessness to return the family to housing; and ending long-term homelessness.
According to research and subject experts, policy and program options that could address family homelessness include:
- Unifying assessment practices across county and community-based agencies to identify families at risk of homelessness; providing coordinated housing programs that offer case management and supportive services; offering housing subsidies or cash assistance for mortgage/rent, which can help families either stay in their homes or gain stable housing; and facilitating eviction prevention through housing courts and landlord-tenant mediation (1, 2)
- Providing employment and vocational training to parents to help them earn income, and providing comprehensive support to the whole family, e.g. children’s services, parenting programs, mental health, trauma and substance abuse services, domestic violence services, case management, and/or other needed support (1, 3, 4)
- Effectively implementing federal law that requires removing barriers that prevent homeless children from receiving a quality education, including providing transportation to the child’s school of origin (their “home” school), waiving documentation requirements for school enrollment, and providing truly equal access to school (5)
- Combating homelessness among unaccompanied youth by providing individualized service planning, ongoing support services, independent living skills training, connections to trustworthy and supportive adults and networks, and employment and education support (6)
- Providing support to homeless youth to safeguard against, and eliminate, the sexual exploitation of youth, where homeless youth are particularly vulnerable (7)
For more policy ideas on child homelessness and housing, visit the Research & Links section on kidsdata.org, or the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, National Center on Family Homelessness, and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Also see Policy Implications under the following topics on kidsdata.org: Family Income & Poverty, Housing Affordability, and Dating & Domestic Violence.
Sources for this narrative:
1. U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2010). Federal strategic plan supplemental document: Homelessness among families with children. Retrieved from: http://www.usich.gov/resources/uploads/asset_library/BkgrdPap_FamiliesWithChildren.pdf
2. Corporation for Supportive Housing. (2011). Approaches for ending chronic homelessness in California through a coordinated supportive housing program. Retrieved from: http://www.csh.org/resources/approaches-for-ending-chronic-homelessness-in-california-through-a-coordinated-supportive-housing-program/
3. National Center on Family Homelessness. (n.d.). Basic principles of care for families and children experiencing homelessness. Retrieved from: http://www.familyhomelessness.org/media/218.pdf
4. National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. (2009). Some facts on homelessness, housing, and violence against women. Retrieved from: http://www.nlchp.org/content/pubs/Some Facts on Homeless and DV.pdf
5. National Center on Family Homelessness. (2011). America’s youngest outcasts 2010: State report card on child homelessness. Retrieved from: http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/reportcard.php
6. U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2010). Opening doors: Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. Retrieved from: http://www.usich.gov/opening_doors
7. California Child Welfare Council. (2013). Ending sexual exploitation of children: A call for multi-system collaboration in California. Retrieved from: http://www.youthlaw.org/fileadmin/ncyl/youthlaw/publications/Ending-CSEC-A-Call-for-Multi-System_Collaboration-in-CA.pdf
- Websites with Related Information
- California Homeless Youth Project, California State Library, California Research Bureau, State of California
- Child Trends: Homeless Children and Youth
- Forty to None Project
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)
- National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)
- National Center on Family Homelessness
- National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
- National Network for Youth
- United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Key Reports
- A Critical Moment: Child and Youth Homelessness in Our Nation’s Schools, 7/2010, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth & First Focus
- America's Youngest Outcasts 2010: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, 12/2011, National Center on Family Homelessness
- Early Care and Education for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness, 2013, The National Center for Homeless Education
- Hidden in Plain Sight: An Assessment of Youth Inclusion in Point-in-time Counts of California’s Unsheltered Homeless Population, 4/2013, California Homeless Youth Project, Auerswald, C., et al.
- Implications of Homelessness for Parenting Young Children: A Preliminary Review from a Developmental Attachment Perspective, 2012, Infant Mental Health Journal, David, D., et al.
- More Than a Roof: How California Can End Youth Homelessness, 1/2013, California Homeless Youth Project, Hyatt, S.
- Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, 2014, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
- Prosperity Threatened: Perspectives on Childhood Poverty in California, 2013, The Next Generation, Fuentes, O'Leary & Barba
- Reviewing State Housing Policy with a Child-Centered Lens: Opportunities for Engagement and Intervention, 5/2013, Center for Housing Policy, Lubell, J.
- Struggling to Survive: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Homeless Youth on the Streets of California, 3/2011, California Homeless Youth Project, Hyatt
- The State of Homelessness in America, 2014, National Alliance to End Homelessness
- There’s No Place Like Home: State Laws That Protect Housing Rights for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
- When the Bough Breaks: The Effects of Homelessness on Young Children, 2/2012, Child Trends, McCoy-Roth, M., et al.
- County/Regional Reports
- Children's Report Card: Sacramento County Children's Coalition, 2013
- Fresno Community Scorecard, Fresno Business Council and ValleyPBS
- Solano County Children's Report Card, 2013, Children's Network
- More Data Sources For Homelessness
- America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Childstats.gov
- Ed Data Express: Data About Elementary and Secondary Schools in the U.S.
- The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States, 2013, Child Trends, Murphey, D., Cooper, M., & Forry, N.