The last several posts have focused on homelessness with an anecdotal or emotional approach. With an eye toward the potential homeless shelter in Kearney these posts have focused on understanding, identifying and empathizing with the homeless. Given the lack of any empirical data to support these blog posts I decided to dive into some numbers.

Searching for homelessness numbers on the internet was not as easy as expected. Frankly it might have been easier to take the short drive into downtown Omaha to get a feel. But with a little effort some data surfaced. Both state and national statistics were available, though much of the information was a bit dated. Below are some select stats relating to poverty and homelessness as well as a link to the entire report.

  • The national child poverty rate is 20 percent, which translates to more than 14.5 million children living in poverty in the USA.
  • Nebraska has the 38th highest child poverty rate among states at 15.2 percent or 66,349 children living in poverty.
  • The total poverty level across the US population in 2009 was 14.3 percent or nearly 43,000,000 people living in poverty.
  • Nebraska’s poverty rate is 12.3 percent which means more than 214,000 Nebraskans live in poverty.
  • Based on point in time counts from Nebraska homeless shelters approximately 1,200 people sought shelter on a given night in Omaha/Council Bluffs, while 947 stayed at a shelter in Lincoln.
  • Outside of Lincoln and Omaha the next highest point in time count came from North Central Nebraska at 492.

Click here to access the full report.