Study Confirms that Homelessness Increases Mortality Risk

The Becker Friedman Institute published a paper detailing the first national calculation of mortality risk for those experiencing homelessness in the U.S. This data provides an accurate indicator of health and well-being. A sample of 140,000 sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness was compared to other citizens, based on Social Security Administration data on cause mortality from 2010-2022.

Results indicate that non-elderly people experiencing homelessness have mortality rates 3.5 times higher than housed individuals. That translates to a 40-year-old person experiencing homelessness having an equivalent risk of mortality as that of a housed person 20 years older. That increased risk of mortality peaks for those in their 30s and 40s before beginning to drop off around age 50. Blacks, females, and Hispanics have shown lower relative mortality risk than white, male, non-Hispanics.

And if the individual has a job, higher income level, and/or family connections, the mortality risk drops. In summary, “the findings elucidate the persistent hardships associated with homelessness while also identifying more vulnerable segments of an already exceptionally deprived population.”

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