Basic Facts About Homelessness:  New York City

Coalition for the Homeless provides up-to-date information on New York City's homeless population. In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression. You can find more information about homelessness at the following pages:

Basic Fact About Homelessness (main page)
Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City Data and Charts

Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City

This page provides an overview of homelessness in New York City. Here you can find the key statistics about New York City's homeless shelter population and a brief description of some of the main factors causing modern homelessness. You can also download a fact sheet about homelessness in New York City.

New York City Homelessness: The Basic Facts


• In recent years, homelessness in New York City has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

• In April 2014, there were an all-time record 54,667 homeless people, including 13,001 homeless families with 23,116 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families comprise more than three-quarters of the homeless shelter population.

• Over the course of the last City fiscal year (FY 2013), more than 111,000 different homeless men, women, and children slept in the New York City municipal shelter system. This includes more than 40,000 different homeless New York City children.

• The number of homeless New Yorkers sleeping each night in municipal shelters is now 75 percent higher than in January 2002, when former Mayor Bloomberg took office.

• Research shows that the primary cause of homelessness, particularly among families, is lack of affordable housing. The U.S. Bureau of the Census has recorded a steady decline in the number of affordable rental apartments in New York City, at the same time that wages for low-income New Yorkers have stagnated or fallen -- thus creating a widening affordability gap.

• Surveys of homeless families have identified the following major immediate causes of episodes of homelessness: eviction; doubled-up or severely overcrowded housing; domestic violence; and hazardous housing conditions.

• Research shows that, compared to homeless families, homeless single adults have significantly higher rates of serious mental illness, addiction disorders, and other severe health problems.

• Each night thousands of unsheltered homeless people sleep on New York City streets, in the subway system, and in other public spaces. There is no accurate measurement of New York City's unsheltered homeless population, and recent City surveys significantly underestimate the number of unsheltered homeless New Yorkers.

• Studies show that the large majority of street homeless New Yorkers are individuals living with mental illness or other severe health problems. Four out of five street homeless New Yorkers are men.

• As in other American cities, New York City's unsheltered homeless population is concentrated in the central business district -- that is, midtown Manhattan. Surveys show that nearly 60 percent of New York City's unsheltered homeless population is in Manhattan.

African-American and Latino New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Approximately 53 percent of New York City homeless shelter residents are African-American, 32 percent are Latino, 6 percent are white, 1 percent are Asian-American, 1 percent are Native American or other race/ethnicity, and 9 percent are of unknown race/ethnicity.

New York City Homelessness: Downloads


The following documents are available for download:

• New York City Homelessness: Fact Sheet
• The New York City Homeless Shelter Population: Charts
• The New York City Homeless Shelter Population: Historical Data, 1983-Present