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Demography

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 2119–2128 | Cite as

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Lifetime Prevalence of Homelessness in the United States

  • Vincent A. Fusaro
  • Helen G. Levy
  • H. Luke Shaefer
Article

Abstract

Homelessness in the United States is often examined using cross-sectional, point-in-time samples. Any experience of homelessness is a risk factor for adverse outcomes, so it is also useful to understand the incidence of homelessness over longer periods. We estimate the lifetime prevalence of homelessness among members of the Baby Boom cohort (n = 6,545) using the 2012 and 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative survey of older Americans. Our analysis indicates that 6.2 % of respondents had a period of homelessness at some point in their lives. We also identify dramatic disparities in lifetime incidence of homelessness by racial and ethnic subgroups. Rates of homelessness were higher for non-Hispanic blacks (16.8 %) or Hispanics of any race (8.1 %) than for non-Hispanic whites (4.8 %; all differences significant with p < .05). The black-white gap, but not the Hispanic-white gap, remained significant after adjustment for covariates such as education, veteran status, and geographic region.

Keywords

Homelessness Racial and ethnic disparities Health and retirement study 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The HRS (Health and Retirement Study) is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (grant number NIA U01AG009740) and is conducted by the University of Michigan. The authors thank external reviewers and the editors for helpful comments and suggestions.

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent A. Fusaro
    • 1
  • Helen G. Levy
    • 2
  • H. Luke Shaefer
    • 3
  1. 1.Boston College School of Social WorkChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of Social Work & Gerald R. Ford School of Public PolicyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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