Racial Inequality & Homelessness

As a team over the past few weeks we began a journey of educating ourselves on racial discrimination and oppression. Our social impact team decided it would be important to dive deeper into racial inequality within homelessness. 

Black and Minority Ethnic communities are OVERREPRESENTED in the homeless population all throughout the United States and United Kingdom. Today we start our journey by listening, learning, and educating ourselves on the racial inequality within homelessness. 



Total Homeless Population of U.S


The total homeless population in America for 2019 was 567,715 people.

In the past decade homelessness has been on the decrease in America - 630,227 in 2009 down to 567,715 in 2019.


 Breakdown of Homeless population by race 

 Graph 1 - Breakdown of race in America of total population:          



Graph 2 - Breakdown of race in homeless population of America:

Most minority groups in the United States experience homelessness at higher rates than whites, and therefore make up a disproportionate share of the homeless population.



African Americans make up 13 percent of the general population, but more than 40 percent of the homeless population.

 Hispanics make up  16.7 percent of the US population and 22 percent of the homeless population.

 It's important to note that the above groups are overrepresented meaning they have higher percentages amongst the homeless community compared to their overall population of the U.S. 

 It's also important to note that White and Asian Americans are underrepresented meaning they have lower percentages amongst the homeless community compared to their overall population of the U.S. 


 To understand the racial inequality further we need to understand the systematic faults responsible for this overrepresentation within the homeless community.   

 Earning gap stats

In 2016, by the hourly wage measure used here, the typical Black worker still only made 82.5 cents on every dollar earned by the typical white worker.

The typical black household today still receives only 61.6 percent of the annual income received by the typical white household. 


One of the most important forms of wealth for working and middle-class families is home equity. Yet, the share of black households that owned their own home remained virtually unchanged 

Between 1968 (41.1 percent) and today (41.2 percent). Over the same period, homeownership for white households 1968 (65.9) Today -  (71.1) percent, 30 percentage points higher than the ownership rate for black households.

Rental Housing Discrimination 

When it comes to renting housing in America, the willingness for rental companies to provide information, book appointments and show properties to qualified minorities was less than qualified white people. 


Total Homeless Population of U.K 

320,000 people throughout all of the UK were homeless in 2018.


Breakdown of Homeless population by race 

In 2018, in Cambridgeshire, UK, Black people were two times more likely to be homeless than white people. 

In the last five years, there was a 22% increase in statutory homelessness households.

statutory homelessness:

the individual/family whose primary nighttime residence is a room in a hotel or hostel where they lack the resources necessary to reside there for more than 14 days.

  • Among white households it rose 9%
  • Homelessness among Black households was up 42%
  • Chinese and others up 35%
  • Mixed-race households up 33%
  • Homelessness among Asian households, though, rose by 71%.


Earning gap stats

Black and ethnic minority households on average have lower incomes than their white counterparts. The percentage difference in median hourly pay between people of a White ethnicity and all those who belong to an ethnic minority group is largest in London at 21.7%. 

Increased homelessness in major cities

Being forced to leave private rented accommodation causes many families to become homeless, especially in London, where private landlords wanted to capitalise on escalating house prices by selling their properties or renting them at a higher price. This has a larger impact on Black and Ethnic minorities due to their average lower income.

Rental Housing Discrimination

At the time the 2018 figures were published, the national homeless charity Shelter said racial prejudice from private landlords was a factor in the high rates of homelessness among Black families. 

Given this insight we were shocked to find very little government recorded stats on these racial prejudice and inequalities.


The more we dive into this topic the more we realise that there is so much more to learn. We believe the more we can educate ourselves and listen, the better allies we become. 

Despite the under reported information within the UK on homelessness in the weeks to come we hope to provide more resources and insights that target these very issues, in addition to initiatives for change. As we continue to educate ourselves on these racial inequalities we encourage you to join us on our journey.

-Dani & Miranda

Click here for the sources!

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