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Number of rough sleepers in England has increased more than 250% since 2010

Our World in Data presents the empirical evidence on global development in entries dedicated to specific topics.

This blog post draws on data and research discussed in our entry on Homelessness.

England is one of the richest countries in the world. But homelessness is not just a persistent failing in England: it’s a growing one.

The number of rough sleepers (the unsheltered homeless) has increased by more than 250 percent since 2010. There was an estimated 1,768 people sleeping rough on any given night in 2010; by 2017 this had increased to 4,751.1

The change in the number of unsheltered homeless people (rough sleepers) is shown in the chart below. If we correct this for population size (i.e. calculating the number of people sleeping rough per 100,000) the increase is just as strong: it increased from 3.36 to 8.54 per 100,000 over this period.

The number of the sheltered homelessness is higher still

Rough sleepers are defined as those who are homeless and unsheltered i.e. living on the streets. More people are homeless according to a wider definition of homelessness that includes those in temporary accommodation – the sheltered homeless. This is shown in the chart below over a more extended period. Also included are the number of such households with children, and the total number of children living in temporary accommodation.2

The number of children in temporary accommodation reached a high of 129,000 in 2006. This fell to around 70,000 in 2011 but has since increased and is almost back to levels from a decade ago.