The emergency and transitional shelter population was made up of 6,078 individuals that constituted for 2.9% of the national population;
64.8 % of the shelter population was female and 35.2% was male; and
Almost 20% (18.4%) of the shelter population was under the age of 18 with 81.6% of the population over the age of 18.
Nationally, the report found that:
In the total emergency and transitional shelter population, individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 make up 77% of the population;
The next largest age group was children, who made up 20% of population;
Those over 65 years old made up only 3% of the population; and
The median age for the total emergency and transitional shelter population was 39 years old, about two years higher than the median age for the overall U.S. population, which was 37 years old.
The report also found that:
There were nearly twice as many men in emergency and transitional shelters than women, with 62% of the total population male and 38% female;
However, the population of girls under the age of 18 in emergency and transitional shelters was disproportionately large, compared to the boys of the same age group; and
Twenty-six percent of females in emergency and transitional shelters were under the age of 18, compared to 16% of males.
In terms of racial characteristics,
45% of those counted in emergency and transitional shelters reported being white only, and 41% reported black only;
18% of the shelter population reported being of Hispanic or Latino origin; and
Those who reported two or more races made up 4% of the population, and American Indian and Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, each accounted for 2% of the population.
The Census Bureau counted 209,325 individuals in emergency and transitional shelters, which the bureau defines as “places where people experiencing homelessness stay overnight.” Over three days in March 2010, census takers surveyed people at shelters, soup kitchens and regularly scheduled mobile food vans, as well as visiting outdoor locations. While this report gives valuable information about who makes up the shelter population in the United States, the authors note that the people counted should not be considered representative of the homeless population overall.
Click here for PDF of the report, which includes more details about New Jersey’s shelter population.