According to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education, 1,168,354 homeless students were enrolled during the 2011-2012 school year. 14% of those are children with disabilities. This is the highest number on record, and a 10% increase over the 2010-2011 school year. The number of homeless children in public schools in the United States has increased 72% since the beginning of the recession.
A total of 43 states reported increases in the number of homeless students and 10 states reported increases of 20% or more. States with the largest increases in the numbers of homeless students were Maine (58%), Michigan (42%), North Carolina (53%), North Dakota (212%), South Dakota (35%), Vermont (31%), and Wyoming (40%). The four states with the largest numbers of homeless students were California, New York, Texas, and Florida.
West Virginia saw a 13% increase in homeless students during the 2011-2012 school year and a total of 55% increase over the last 3 school years.
The U.S. Department of Education statistics greatly underestimate the number of homeless children in the United States. The data does not include homeless infants and toddlers, young children who are not enrolled in public preschool programs, and homeless children and youth who were not identified by school officials.
The data released by the U.S. Department of Education is available on the website of the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) at http://center.serve.org/nche/pr/data_comp.php. NCHE is the U.S. Department of Education’s technical assistance and information provider in the area of homeless education.