Homeless Facts


Among industrialized nations, the United States has the largest number of homeless women and children. Not since the Great Depression have so many families been without homes. The statistics below are the best estimates of the extent of homelessness, but it is important to note that they are undercounts.

  • Homeless families comprise roughly 34% of the total U.S. homeless population
  • Approximately 1.6 million children will experience homelessness over the course of a year. In any given day, researchers estimate that more than 200,000 children have no place to live
  • People counted in the single adult homeless population (about 2.3-3.5 million annually) are also part of families:
    • Among all homeless women, 60% have children under age 18, but only 65% of them live with at least one of their children
    • Among all homeless men, 41% have children under age 18, but only 7% live with at least one of their children

Who are homeless families?

  • 84% of families experiencing homelessness are female-headed. This is due to a number of factors:
    • Most single-parent families are female-headed (71%). Single-parent families are among the poorest in the nation and as such, are extremely vulnerable to homelessness
    • Many family shelters do not accept men into their programs, causing families to separate when they become homeless
  • Families of color are overrepresented in the homeless population. Nationally:
    • 43% are African-American
    • 15% are Hispanic
    • 38% are White, non Hispanic
    • 3% are Native American
  • Families experiencing homelessness usually have limited education:
    • 53% of homeless mothers do not have a high school diploma
  • 29% of adults in homeless families are working
  • 42% of children in homeless families are under age six

What are the experiences of homeless mothers?

The impact of homelessness on mothers is profound. Many experience anger, self blame, sadness, fear, and hopelessness. Mothers experiencing homelessness have significant histories of interpersonal violence. For them, the experience of becoming homeless is another major stressor amidst already complicated traumatic experiences.

  • Over 92% of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse during their lifetime
  • 63% report that this abuse was perpetrated by an intimate partner

What are the experiences of homeless children?

Children experience high rates of chronic and acute health problems while homeless. The constant barrage of stressful and traumatic experiences also has profound effects on their development and ability to learn. Violence plays a significant role in the lives of homeless children.

  • By age 12, 83% of homeless children had been exposed to at least one serious violent event
  • Almost 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their families
  • 15% have seen their father hit their mother
  • 11% have seen their mother abused by a male partner
  • Children who witness violence are more likely than those who have not to exhibit frequent aggressive and antisocial behavior, increased fearfulness, higher levels of depression and anxiety, and have a greater acceptance of violence as a means of resolving conflict

Statistics and more information can be found at: www.greendoors.org/facts/family-homelessness.php


764 documented homeless children were identified by the Lawton public school system in the 2015-2016 school year.This number provided by LPS does not really reflect the total homeless population of children in Lawton, due to the fact that 20% of all homeless school age children do not attend school. The data provided by LPS shows an increase of homelessness among students in the Lawton area.

1 of 3 in the Lawton area are impoverished.

Over 90% of children are on a reduced lunch plan.

According to the Census Bureau Lawton, Oklahoma has 1.6% more individuals below the poverty line than the state average. New Census data indicates that the South has the highest levels of population increase. Oklahoma itself has sustained high population increases since the 1960s. According to the State Report Card on Child Homelessness, each year 1 in 50 children are homeless in the U.S. Oklahoma ranks 31 in the U.S., with 1 being the best, for child homelessness with a total of 5952 homeless children in the state.