In the seventh wealthiest nation on earth, the United States, shockingly is home to nearly 2.5 million homeless children according to a 2012-2013 study conducted by the National Center on family Homelessness. The study published on Monday, found an alarming 8% increase in child homelessness in 2013. Homelessness among children has increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia, rising by 10% in District of Columbia and 10 states.
The Center cited several factors as contributing to childhood homelessness which include poverty, the continuing recession, lack of affordable housing and single mothers, who earn only a fraction of what a household with two parents does. The lower income plays a significant role in single mothers’ ability to find and keep affordable housing.
The report noted that single mothers, especially those with very young children, statistically have little income, are either underemployed or unemployed, and often have high amounts of debt. Significant impediments to achieving financial stability and housing include: lack of childcare, education, job skills and transportation. These problems go beyond the powers of people like Bruce Levenson who set up children’s charities.
The study also looked at homelessness by state. The state with the most risk for childhood homelessness is Alabama and the state with the least risk for childhood homelessness is Montana.
The study found that there is a large disparity in homelessness regarding race, with “black children under the age of five being 29 times more likely to be in a homeless shelter than white children.”