Most Americans believe homelessness is a severe problem, and they feel it has gotten worse over the past two years, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey.
The national survey found that 87 percent of respondents believe homelessness is a serious problem. That includes 61 percent who say the problem is very serious. Only nine percent say homelessness is not a serious problem.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), around 582,000 people experienced homelessness in 2022, 18 for every 10,000 Americans, up 2,000 people since 2020.
The rate of homelessness has risen about six percent nationally in the U.S. since 2017, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
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In 2023, the problem grew at a faster rate.
Data reviewed and published by the Wall Street Journal in August shows that more than 577,000 Americans are homeless today, representing an 11 percent increase compared to the same time last year — an alarming pace.
The article noted that the increase “would represent by far the biggest recorded increase since the government started tracking comparable numbers in 2007.
“The next highest increase was a 2.7% jump in 2019, excluding an artificially high increase last year caused by pandemic counting interruptions,” it continued.
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Rasmussen found that majorities of each political category believe homelessness is a very serious problem, with 64 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents, and 57 percent of Democrats agreeing.
The Rasmussen poll adds that, by a slight majority, Americans feel that homelessness should be a local responsibility. About 36 percent say local governments should handle the issue, while 30 percent believe it should be a federal issue. Sixteen percent say they are unsure.
Unsurprisingly, at 40 percent, Democrats feel the federal government should handle the problem. That compares to only 22 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of independents who think the federal government should be responsible for dealing with homelessness.
Women are more likely (39 percent) than men (32 percent) to say that the states should be primarily responsible for homelessness.
Regarding local responsibility, the party affiliation breakdown shows that 41 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents, and 28 percent of Democrats say that state governments should be responsible for the issue.
Majorities also agree that the problem is getting worse. Among Republicans, 77 percent say it has worsened over the last two years. Forty-six percent of Democrats and 71 percent of unaffiliated Americans agree it has gotten worse.
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Rasmussen surveyed 1,085 American adults between September 19-21. The margin of sampling error is ± three percentage points with a 95 percent confidence level.