New data from the U.S. Department of Education show that the number of homeless children in public schools reached 1.36 million in the 2013-2014 school year, an increase of 8% from 2012-2013 and more than 70% since 2007-2008. The data suggest that many families with children are continuing to struggle even as the national economy recovers.
A Washington Post article published on September 14 points out that now nearly 3% of the nation’s public school students are homeless and federal resources to connect these students with supportive services have not kept pace with the increasing need. According to the article, homeless children are more likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities, are more likely to miss school, and are more likely to drop out of school. Research by Ann Masten and others show academic achievement gaps in math and reading between homeless students and other students, including those who are from low income households but not homeless.
State-level data on the current number of homeless children in public schools and its change over time can be downloaded from the Department of Education at http://1.usa.gov/1F9LrSj. The website also provides a mapping tool to identify states with varying levels of homeless students. California had the largest number of students reported as homeless in 2013-2014 with 310,002, followed by 145,259 in New York and 111,759 in Texas.
The Department of Education data on homeless students is available at http://1.usa.gov/1F9LrSj
The Washington Post article is available at http://wapo.st/1iSEQSe
Research by Ann Masten and others is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3566371/