In a Parks and Human Services committee hearing Feb. 8, Honolulu City Council member Romy Cachola said Hawaii’s homeless problem isn’t as bad as many other states.

“Our jobless rate is way, way lower than other states in the nation and I believe they have a lot worse homeless problems than we have here,” Cachola said.

It’s true that Hawaii’s jobless rate is significantly lower than the national average, but are there other states around the U.S. with higher percentages of homeless?

Just one.

In 2009 (the most recent data available), Hawaii had a homeless population of 5,782, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. And while other states had far higher numbers (New York, for example, had 61,067), Hawaii’s overall homeless population per 10,000 people was the second-highest in the nation.

According to the alliance’s report, “State of Homelessness in America 2011”, Hawaii had a homeless rate of 45 people per 10,000 residents in 2009. Nevada was the only state with a higher rate, 55 per 10,000. Oregon’s rate tied Hawaii.

The District of Colombia had by far the highest rate of homelessness in the United States, averaging 104 people out of every 10,000.

The national average was 21 homeless per 10,000.

The screenshots below are from the “State of Homelessness Report”. The first table, 4.1, shows overall homelessness per 10,000 people in the United States. The second table, 1.1, shows the 2009 total population of homeless.




Only one state and the District of Colombia had a higher rate than Hawaii.