The Decennial Census and Homelessness

Icon

National Alliance to End Homelessness

Fact Sheets | April 28, 2010

Files: PDF | 136 KB | 3 pages

name

The first Census occurred in 1790, and consisted of just four questions. Since that time, the United States has increased efforts, changed methods, altered principle criteria and time frames, and expanded the survey considerably. While some Censes of the 19th century included populations similar to those we consider “homeless,” only Census operations beginning in 1970 identified specific efforts to count the homeless population. The brief provides a description of the official methods of including people experiencing homelessness in the census and, when available, the results of those efforts.

This fact sheet provides information on the efforts to count people experiencing homelessness in the Censes from the following years:

  • 1970
  • 1980
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • 2010

The end of the brief examines efforts prior to 1970 to count populations similar to those we consider homeless today.