Winter 2018

The latest statistics on homelessness

The release of the 2016 Census of Population and Housing in March found there has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of people sleeping rough since 2011.

While the number of people experiencing homelessness has grown, funding to create affordable housing and support people has remained inadequate.

The St Vincent de Paul Society has been lobbying the federal and state and territory governments to double the amount of money made available to build more social housing. Without a home, having or finding a job, maintaining a family, and getting an education are nearly impossible.

‘Charities like St Vincent de Paul will always continue to support those experiencing homelessness, but the government must also pull its weight in contributing to a fairer society in which no one gets left out,’ said Dr Falzon, CEO of Vinnies National Council.

A break down on the statistics

  • The 2016 Census found 116,427 people are homeless on any given night in Australia. This is up from 102,439 in the 2011 Census. This means the rate of homelessness in Australia has grown by 13.7 per cent.
  • There has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of people sleeping rough since 2011. That’s 8200 people living on the streets, in tents or improvised dwellings.
  • Most of the increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 was reflected in people living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings, up from 41,370 in 2011 to 51,088 in 2016.
  • People who were born overseas and arrived in Australia in the last five years accounted for 15 per cent (17,749 persons) of all persons who were homeless on Census night in 2016.
  • The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were homeless was 361 persons for every 10,000 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, a decrease from 487 in 2011.
  • Homeless youth (aged 12 to 24) made up 32 per cent of total homeless persons living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings.
  • Nearly 60 per cent of homeless people in 2016 were aged under 35 years, and 42 per cent of the increase in homelessness was in the 25 to 34 years age group.
  • The number of homeless persons aged 55 years and above has steadily increased over the past three Censuses, from 12,461 in 2006, to 14,581 in 2011 and 18,625 in 2016.
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