On a per capita income basis, the US is one of the most affluent societies in the world. But the problem with a measure of wealth like this is that it says nothing about how the money is distributed. Some people are billionaires while others don’t have the resources to put a roof over their head or food in their stomach.
Current estimates suggest that there are more than 1.3 million homeless teens living in the US unsupervised and that more than 1 in 30 people between the ages of 13 and 17 will experience some form of homelessness within a 12 month period.
Why is this happening? Why is teen homelessness such a problem in America?
One of the leading causes is family problems. Of all the teens who have been homeless, more than 46 percent say that they have been physically abused at home while another 38 percent say that they have been emotionally abused. Although sad, life on the streets is often more palatable than living at home with abusive relatives.
Another major issue driving high rates of homelessness are problems that emerge after the transition from foster care to unassisted adult living. Of all teens in care – private or public – more than 50 percent will be homeless within six months.
Teens who have been in care, often do not have the family resources or the skills to weather unemployment or find work. Data suggest that when family income is below $24,000 per year, teens are at a 162 percent higher chance of being made homeless.
Youth homelessness isn’t just a problem in cities area. Rural homelessness is on the rise.
Teens are at a higher risk of suicide, anxiety and depression, poor self-esteem and nutritional deficiencies. Despite this, nationwide there are just 4,200 beds are provided for youth, meaning more than 90% are left without shelter.
The following infographic from the team at Rawhide Boys Ranch introduces you to some of the basic facts surrounding teen homelessness, including the states which have the highest rates, the major drivers of homelessness in the US, and how many homeless youths live in sheltered accommodation.
How does your state fare?