Updated Report on Homelessness Confronts “America’s Youngest Outcasts”

America's Youngest Outcasts

A new report from the National Center on Family Homelessness published just before the new year, America’s Youngest Outcasts 2010 [pdf], documents the numbers of homeless children in every state, their well-being, their risk for child homelessness, and state level planning and policy activities. An update to their 2006 report, this publication found that 1.6 million American children, or one in 45 children, are homeless in a year–equivalent to more than 30,000 children each week, and more than 4,400 each day.

Not surprisingly, homelessness, a hugely challenging out-of-school factor for students, has worsened during the economic recession. The report found a tie between homelessness and hunger, poor physical and emotional health, and missed educational opportunities.  These hardships were affiliated with limited educational proficiency in math and reading for students.

Using findings from numerous sources that include national data sets as well as their own research, the report ranked states in four domains: extent of child homelessness (adjusted for population size), child well-being, risk for child homelessness, and state policy and planning efforts. The top ranked states (doing the best to combat homelessness) are:

  1. Vermont
  2. Minnesota
  3. Nebraska
  4. North Dakota
  5. Maine
  6. New Hampshire
  7. New Jersey
  8. Massachusetts [pdf]
  9. Montana
  10. Iowa

Rounding out the lowest ranked states were Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. Check out this interactive map to find out how your state ranked, or read the report card [pdf] with details about all 50 states.

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