There were an estimated 13,169 homeless New Jerseyans in 2009, which represents 0.15 percent of the population, according to statehealthfacts.org, a website maintained by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. This statistic was derived with data from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of the 13,169 homeless individuals in New Jersey, 11,871 were living in some type of shelter, as opposed to 1,298 who were living on the streets.
Although that number is disturbing, it was better than average for the nation as a whole, since New Jersey ranked 21 among states in terms of homeless population. The U.S. had 643,067 homeless individuals, or 0.21 percent of the total population. The District of Columbia, with 6,228 or 1.04 percent of the population, ranked first in the number of homeless, while Nevada, with 14,478 on 0.55 percent ranked second. Kansas, with only 1,892 homeless people, or 0.07 percent, ranked last.
Despite the downturn in the economy, the condition of homelessness has been improving in New Jersey, as well as the nation. New Jersey saw a drop of nearly 24 percent in the number of homeless between 2007 and 2009.