America’s Homeless Kids Crisis
As Seen in The Atlantic Cities: Homeless Kids Crisis
The number of homeless students in the United States has hit a record high, according to new data from the Department of Education.
The raw numbers are shocking: in the 2011 school year, 1,168,354 homeless children were enrolled in preschools and K-12 programs. Even more disturbing is the trend those numbers show: nationally, they represent a 10 percent jump over the previous school year, and a stunning 72 percent increase since the beginning of the recession in 2008.
The crisis is not confined to any one region — Homeless Kids Crisis. Forty-three states reported a rise in the number of homeless kids, and 10 showed jumps of more than 20 percent, according to a compilation of the DOE data assembled by the National Center for Homeless Education [PDF]. The biggest jumps were found in Maine (58 percent), Michigan (42 percent), North Carolina (53 percent), North Dakota (212 percent), South Dakota (35 percent), Vermont (31 percent), and Wyoming (40 percent).
In terms of raw numbers, California, New York, Texas, and Florida were hardest hit.
The spike in homelessness among American schoolchildren is an unsurprising result of the prolonged effects of the economic downturn. In communities around the country, huge numbers of families are being pushed into homelessness by foreclosure, which has affected some 8 million children [PDF], along with the combination of spiraling rents and stagnating wages.