Actually determining and counting the number of homeless is very difficult in general due to their lifestyle habits. There are so-called "hidden homeless" out of sight of the normal population and perhaps staying on private property.
Various countries, states, and cities have come up with differing means and techniques to calculate an approximate count. For example, a one night "homeless census count", called a point-in-time (PIT) count, usually held in the early Winter, for the year, is a technique used by a number of American cities, especially Boston, Massachusetts. Los Angeles, California uses a mixed set of techniques for counting, including the PIT street count. In 2003, The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had begun requiring a PIT count in all "Continuum of Care" communities which required them to report the count of people, housing status, and geographic locations of individuals counted. Some communities will give sub-population information to the PIT, such as information on veterans, youth, and elderly individuals as done in Boston.
Statistics for developed countries.
In 2005, an estimated 100 million people worldwide were homeless.
The following statistics indicate the approximate average number of homeless people at any one time. Each country has a different approach to counting homeless people, and estimates of homelessness made by different organizations vary wildly, so comparisons should be made with caution.European Union: 3,000,000 (UN-HABITAT 2004)United Kingdom: 10,459 rough sleepers, 98,750 households in temporary accommodation (Department for Communities and Local Government 2005)Canada: 150,000 (National Homelessness Initiative - Government of Canada) Australia: On census night in 2006 there were 105,000 people homeless across Australia, an increase from the 99,900 Australians who were counted as homeless in the 2001 census United States: According to HUD's July 2008 3rd Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, in a single night in January 2007, single point analysis reported to HUD showed there were 671,888 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons nationwide in the United States. Also, HUD reported the number of chronically homeless people (those with repeated episodes or who have been homeless for long periods, 2007 data) as 123,833. 82% of the homeless are not chronically homeless, and 18% are (6% Chronically Homeless Sheltered, 12% Chronically Homeless Unsheltered). Their Estimate of Sheltered Homeless Persons during a One-Year Period, October 2006 to September 2007, that about 1,589,000 persons used an emergency shelter and/or transitional housing during the 12-month period, which is about 1 in every 200 persons in the United States was in a homeless facility in that time period. Individuals accounted for 1,115,054 or 70.2% and families numbered 473,541 or 29.8%. The number of persons in sheltered households with Children was about 130,968. Japan: 20,000-100,000 (some figures put it at 200,000-400,000) Reports show that homelessness is on the rise in Japan since the mid-1990s. There are more homeless men than homeless women in Japan because it is easier for women to get a job (they make less money than men do). Also Japanese families usually provide more support for women than they do for men.
Developing and undeveloped countries.
The number of homeless people worldwide has grown steadily in recent years. In some Third World nations such as Nigeria, andSouth Africa, homelessness is rampant, with millions of children living and working on the streets. Homelessness has become a problem in the countries of China, India, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines despite their growing prosperity, mainly due to migrant workers who have trouble finding permanent homes.
For people in Russia, especially the youth, alcoholism and substance abuse is a major cause and reason for becoming and continuing to be homeless.
The United Nations, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-Habitat) wrote in its Global Report on Human Settlements in 1995: "Homelessness is a problem in developed as well as in developing countries. In London, for example, life expectancy among the homeless is more than 25 years lower than the national average.
Poor urban housing conditions are a global problem, but conditions are worst in developing countries. Habitat says that today 600 million people live in life- and health-threatening homes in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The threat of mass homelessness is greatest in those regions because that is where population is growing fastest.
By 2015, the 10 largest cities in the world will be in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Nine of them will be in developing countries: Mumbai, India - 27.4 million; Lagos, Nigeria - 24.4; Shanghai, China - 23.4; Jakarta, Indonesia - 21.2; São Paulo, Brazil - 20.8; Karachi, Pakistan - 20.6; Beijing, China - 19.4; Dhaka, Bangladesh - 19; Mexico City, Mexico - 18.8. The only city in a developed country that will be in the top ten is Tokyo, Japan - 28.7 million."
In 2008, Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, referring to the recent report "State of the World's Cities Report 2008/2009", said that the world economic crisis we are in should be viewed as a "housing finance crisis" in which the poorest of poor were left to fend for themselves.