Study: Homeless People Face Higher Mortality Risk

Unhoused adults are more than three times as likely to die in any given year as their housed counterparts, research shows.

1 minute read

November 27, 2023, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Makeshift shelter built by unhoused people on hillside overlooking freeway in Stockton, California.

An encampment in Stockton, California. | Matt Gush / Adobe Stock

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals the stark disparity in life expectancy between housed and unhoused people, reports Christian Leonard in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The study shows that “non-elderly homeless people are about 3.5 times more likely to die in any given year as people with housing,” while “a 40-year-old person experiencing homelessness has a similar risk of death as a 60-year-old person with housing.”

The study analyzed data about 140,000 homeless individuals from the U.S. Census and Social Security Administration and “measured death risk by tracking the percentage of homeless people who lived to the end of a six-month period, compared to the share of housed people who lived to the end of that same period.”

In one surprising finding, the study showed that sheltered and unsheltered homeless people had the same mortality risk, signaling that “while shelter is important, it doesn’t address all the challenges homeless people face.”

Monday, November 27, 2023 in San Francisco Chronicle

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