Asia Minute: Homelessness Rising in Australia

Mar 15, 2018

Credit Newtown grafitti / Flickr

New figures out this week show that homelessness is a growing problem in Australia. The latest information shows the country’s homeless population has jumped by about 14-percent in the five years leading up to the latest survey. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Nearly 117,000 people across Australia are homeless; including more than 8,000 who will be sleeping on the streets tonight. That’s according to the Australia Bureau of Statisticswhich says the country’s homeless population continues to grow.

The count includes not only those on the streets, but also people in shelters, sleeping in cars, and staying in what the government calls “overcrowded accommodations.”

Two over-represented groups in the count include young people and older women. About a quarter of Australia’s homeless are between the ages of 20 and 30—while the number of women over the age of 65 who are homeless has spiked in the last five years.

Overall, Australia’s national homeless rate comes out to 51 people per every 10,000 residents.

According to the U.S. National Alliance to End Homelessness, that’s about three times the national average of the United States, but exactly the same level as the state of Hawaii.

Sydney, Australia at night.
Credit Wang Hsin Pei / Wikimedia Commons

Another similarity to Hawaii, homeless rates in Australia have risen as the price of housing has gone up.

The advocacy group Homelessness Australia says property prices in the country have risen by 39-percent over roughly the past six years; while the homeless rate among 19 to 24 year olds has risen a little faster—up 46-percent over a similar time frame.