18 Cities with Highest Homeless in the US [Report of 2024]


The total number of homeless people in the United States is 553,742, that’s 170 out of every 100,000 people experiencing homeless in the US right now.

The homeless rates for cities in the US are usually counted per every 100,000, which means the national rate of homeless in the US is 170 approximately.

But alarmingly, there are cities in the US which have homeless rates of four or five times the national rate. Surprising enough, some of these cities are even quite well known for their standard of living. The cities with highest homeless rate in the United States are listed below.

1. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA

Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA is within the list of top cities with highest homeless rate in the US

Santa Cruz-Watsonville metropolitan area has the highest rate of homelessness in the US which is located in the state of California,. The homeless rate in Santa Cruz-Watsonville is 825.9, five times higher than the national homeless rate.

Currently, Santa Cruz-Watsonville has an estimated population of 273,000, out of which, 2,250 are homeless. Agriculture and manufacturing are the main economic drivers of this city.

2. Salinas, CA

Salinas, CA

Salinas is an urban city located in Monterey County in the state of California. On the edge of the Salinas River, its climate is influenced by the surrounding Pacific Ocean.

Agricultural innovations are the drivers behind its economy. Salinas has an estimated population of 163,542, the rate of homelessness in the city is 616.9, which is around four times the national rate.

3. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA

Located in California, Santa Maria-Santa Barbara metropolitan area is renowned for its wineries and barbecues. The rate of homelessness in Santa Maria-Santa Barbara is a staggering 557.1, almost three times higher than the national rate. The estimated population of Santa Maria-Santa Barbara is 446,500, out of which, over two thousand are homeless right now.

Want to know more? Check out this data set on US states ranked by cost of living.

4. Los Angeles, CA

Known as the “City of Angels”, Los Angeles is famed for its cultural diversity, Malibu beach houses, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Paramount Studios and many other iconic things. Los Angeles is not just one of the most famous cities in the US, but in the whole world. Furthermore, Los Angeles is home to some of the largest tech companies in the world.

Referred to as the home of the rich and famous, Los Angeles maintains one of the highest standards of living in the US.

Hollywood Boulevard is one of the most iconic places in the world, while Beverly Hills is one of the most luxurious areas to live in the US. But despite all these amazing features, Los Angeles has one of the highest rates of unemployment and homelessness in the US. Astonishingly, Los Angeles has a homeless rate of 518.9, which is the 4th-most in terms of cities with the highest homeless rate in the US.

5. San Luis Obispo, CA

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, located in California’s central coast region, has an estimated population of San Luis Obispo is around 47,460 and, the homeless rate of this city is 501.3. Downtown San Luis Obispo is full of electronic shops and boutiques. For students who live in this city, the main attractions include hiking, sailing and surfing.

6. San Jose, CA

San Jose, CA

Located in California, San Jose is renowned for its role in American technology and science. Moreover, San Jose is home to Silicon Valley, one of the centers of technology in the world.

Additionally, the Tech Museum of Innovation is located in downtown San Jose. The population of San Jose is just over 1 million, and is one of the most populous cities in California. The rate of homelessness in San Jose is 481.5, one of the highest in the US.

Do you know that Mississippi has the highest poverty rate? Here is the full list of states based on poverty.

7. Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, renowned for its luxurious hotels, stunning beaches and amazing nightlife. Outside of California, the city with the highest homeless rate in the US is Honolulu. The Honolulu metropolitan area has an estimated population of 953,207. Currently, the city has a homeless rate of 458.3, one of the highest homeless rates in the US.

8. New York City, NY

 New York City

With a population of 8.8 million, New York City is the most populous city in the US. Referred to as the “Big Apple”, New York City is one of the important cities in the world. A hub for multinational corporations, New York City is renowned for the New York Stock Exchange(NYSE) and is home to some of the biggest organizations in the corporate world.

But due to its massive population, many people in the city are currently suffering from homelessness. The homeless rate in New York City is 454.2. The most iconic sites in New York include Times Square, the Manhattan Bridge, the Hudson River and the Empire State Building.

9. Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara, a city located in the central coast region of California, is renowned for downtown Spanish-style amenities. Santa Barbara also attracts many tourists annually because of the wonderful scenery presented by the Santa Ynez Mountains. Santa Barbara has an estimated population of 91,364 and its rate of homelessness is 423.8.

10. Eugene, OR

Located on the Willamette River, Eugene is quite well-known for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Fifth Street Market and the Alton Baker Park. With a population of 156,185, Eugene is one of the most populous cities in Oregon.

Eugene has had a very well-documented problem with homelessness, with the homeless rate being 414.7 right now. The main driving force behind Eugene’s economy is its vehicle manufacturing industries.

11. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is one of the cultural and commercial centers of the United States. It is one of the most prestigious cities in the US and has an incredibly high standard of living. Home to numerous multinationals companies and tech-giants, San Francisco is one of America’s biggest economies. San Francisco is called a “Global City” due to the diversity among its population and the huge multinational organizations present in the city.

The estimated population of San Francisco is 873,965, which is the 17th-most in the United States. Despite maintaining such a high standard of living, San Francisco ranks 6th among cities with the highest homeless rate. The rate of homelessness in San Francisco is 396.9.

12. Salt Lake, Utah

The state capital and largest city of Utah is Salt Lake City. The most populated district in Utah, Salt Lake County, has its seat here. The city, which had 200,133 residents in 2020, is at the center of the Salt Lake City metropolitan region, which has had 1,257,936 residents in 2020. The rate of homelessness in Salt Lake is 387.9.

13. Turlock, CA

Located in Stanislaus County of California, the city of Turlock is often referred to as the “Heart of the Valley”. Turlock was given this nickname due to its impressive agricultural production. Furthermore, Turlock is a very well-known shipping point for wheat in the state of California. Currently, the estimated population of Turlock is 73,631, the homeless rate of the city is 379.6.

14. Battle Creek, Michigan

At the meeting point of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek rivers in northwest Calhoun County, the city of Battle Creek is located in the U.S. state of Michigan. It serves as the hub of the whole Calhoun County, Michigan, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Battle Creek. The estimated population of Battle Creek is 200,000, the homeless rate of the city is 370.5.

15. Seattle-Tacoma, WA

Located in the nation’s capital state of Washington, Seattle-Tacoma is surrounded by water, green forests and mountainous regions. The estimated population of the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area is 4,018,598, the 15th-most in the US. The rate of homelessness in Seattle-Tacoma is 365.6, the most of any city in the Northwest region of the US. The legendary Space Needle is the most well-known landmark in this area.

16. Stockton, CA

Stockton is a city located in the central valley of California, surrounded by the San Joaquin River. The estimated population of Stockton is 309,228, the highest in San Joaquin County.

Moreover, Stockton is renowned for being home to amazing regional parks like the Oak Grove Regional Park and the Micke Grove Regional Park. The rate of homelessness in Stockton is 346.6, ranking as one of the cities with the highest homeless rate in California.

17. Springfield, MA

Located in Massachusetts, Springfield is surrounded by the Connecticut River, Westfield River and the Mill River. Springfield is one of the most populous cities in Massachusetts with an estimated population of 153,606.

Due to its close connections with Boston and New York, Springfield plays a significant role in the state’s economy. The rate of homelessness in Springfield is 324.

18. Eugene, Oregon

Just on Willamette River, is the municipality of Eugene. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, renowned for its Asian holdings, and the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, centered on the Northwestern side, are both located on the campus of the University of Oregon.

There are eateries and local independent shops at the Fifth Street Public Market. Alton Baker Park, which borders a river and has numerous pathways, and Hendricks Park, which has a rhododendron bloom, are examples of green areas.

The list above shows that cities with large-scale populations that cannot produce enough jobs or provide the required educational facilities for all of their people are facing the problem of homelessness.

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