How large is the estimated homeless population of each country?
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Homelessness is often an overlooked issue. This became very clear when looking for data for this map. A lot of countries have no or very old data on this topic. As you can see, the data on this map ranges from 2009 to 2020. Most countries don’t collect data on the number of homeless people on a regular basis. Furthermore, there are also several countries that heavily under-report the number of homeless people. Russia for instance, reports to have 64,000 homeless people. However, many believe this number to be around 5 million. That’s a difference of 15 homeless people per 10,000 people to 1,207 homeless people per 10,000 people.
OECD has done the best attempt out there, to collect a set of relatively reliable numbers on the homeless population. That data was used for this map. In this report you can find more details about the data. Although not as reliable as what we are normally used to of the OECD, it’s still by far the best data out there about this difficult topic.
Although the UK keeps very good track of the homeless population, it is not included in this map. The UK uses a vastly different definition of homelessness. First of all, they count the number of homeless people by household, not by individual number of people. Second, they include households which are at risk of homelessness (but are not homeless yet).
As we can see, Germany and Slovakia have the largest homeless population per 10,000 people. Homelessness has increased a lot over the recent years in Germany. It is believed that this is largely caused by increasing numbers of homeless refugees and migrants. Sweden, Luxembourg and Latvia, also have significant homeless population.