We finally found an economic category where blue states soundly outcompete red states: in attracting homeless people. The surge in homelessness in these states is a result of a lack of jobs and housing policies, such as rent control and land use zoning restrictions, that limits the building of affordable housing.
It’s telling that the three states – NY, Hawaii, and Calif. – with homeless rates (as % of state population) that are almost quadruple the national average are the most Democratic. We thought these were supposed to be the most progressive and “compassionate” states.
The southern states, despite having lower per capita incomes generally, tend to have the most effective policies to combat lowest homeless rates.
New York City deserves special mention. NYC has an estimated 65,000 homeless people (which is the size of a medium city) and yet the city spends $3 billion a year to combat homelessness. They are going a great job of it.
States with Lowest Homeless Rates
Homeless Population per 10,000 residents
North Dakota 7
West va 8
States with Highest Homeless Populations
New York 47
Source: Wall Street 247 based on data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.