The median age of the single adult homeless population is now 53 and the life expectancy for someone who lives on the street is 64. What does this mean?
In order to help these populations surpass the life expectancy and not die off over the next ten years, more resources will need to be targeted towards housing and medical are for the aging population.
Culhane’s research premise was:
Amidst concern about the implications of an aging U.S. population, recent evidence suggests that there is a unique aging trend among the homeless population. Building on this, we use data from New York City and from the last three decennial Census enumerations to assess how the age composition of the homeless population—both single adults and adults in families—has changed over time.
Findings show diverging trends in aging patterns for single adults and adults in families over the past 20 years. Among single adults, the bulk of the sheltered population is comprised of persons born during the latter part of the baby boom era whose high risk for homelessness has continued as they have aged.
According to the SFGate blog which reported on this research,
“Social scientists say the median age has been steadily increasing for many years, supporting the ‘big bang’ theory that many of today’s street people hit the gutter back in the 1980s era of recession and slashings of social programs.”
Monarch Housing is analyzing the HMIS data to determine if a similar age pattern exists in NJ.