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Syria has the highest rate of homelessness in the world, while Nigeria has the highest number of homeless people on any given night.
Official statistics on homelessness make it extremely challenging to determine which country has the highest rate of homelessness. This is because data is not collected linearly worldwide. While one country may provide 2020 statistics, another may only offer 2014 statistics, making comparisons between countries difficult.
Furthermore, globally, the extent of the homelessness problem is usually represented by the number of homeless people in that country on any given night. However, this may not accurately portray the rate of homelessness in the true sense of the word.
To overcome this obstacle, we determined the rate of homelessness by comparing the daily average number of homeless people living in a country to the total number of people living there.
We are going to take a look at both countries with the biggest homeless population. As well as the countries with the highest rate of homelessness relative to the total population size. These have been categorised per continental region.
Germany has the highest number of homeless people in Europe, with approximately 650,000 people per night. It is estimated that there are 37 homeless people per 10,000 citizens- meaning that Germany's homelessness problem equates to around 0.37% of the population.
However, relative to the country's population, Ukraine has a homeless population of 734,240 but a homelessness rate of 1.68%, making it the country with the highest rate of homelessness in Europe. With homeless populations this large many people close to the issue have posed the question, does Europe have a homeless problem or not?
The country with the highest number of homeless people in Asia is Pakistan. Pakistan has a homeless population of approximately 20,000,000 people. Out of 242 million, this is a homeless population of 8.3% of the country.
Yemen, however, has a total population of 29.83 million but a homeless population of 3,858,000, giving the country a homelessness rate of 12.9%, significantly higher than Pakistan. This makes Yemen a country in Asia with a higher rate of homelessness by a large margin.
Syria has a homeless population of 6,568,000 per night, of roughly 17.5 million people. This means that Syria has a 37.5% homelessness rate.
This effectively means that nearly 4 in every 10 people do not have a permanent or formal residence. This makes Syria the country with the highest homelessness rate in Asia and the country with the highest rate of homelessness in the world.
The country with the highest number of homeless people in Africa is Nigeria. Nigeria is also the country with the biggest homeless population in the world. With a homeless population of 24,400,000 out of 216 million citizens, Nigeria has a homeless rate of 11.3%.
However, while Nigeria has the largest homeless population in the world, it does not have the highest rate of homelessness worldwide nor the highest rate in Africa.
Egypt is the African country with the second-highest number of homeless people, with approximately 12 million people. Although the size of the homeless population is just over half of Nigeria's - relative to the population size, Egypt has a homelessness rate of 11.6%, making it rank higher than Nigeria. This makes Egypt the country in Africa with the highest rate of homelessness.
Honduras, with a homeless population of 1 million, has the highest number of homeless people in North America. This totals 1,235 people in every 10,000, equating to around 12.35% of the population.
Honduras has the biggest population of homeless people in North America, and it also has the highest rate of homelessness in the continent.
In contrast, the country that has the second biggest homeless population is the United States, with 580,466 people on average per night.
This is effectively a homelessness rate of 0.18%. Honduras is, therefore, the country with the highest rate of homelessness in North America by far.
In South America, Colombia has the biggest homeless population. With around 4,943,000 homeless people in the country and 55.8 million citizens, the homeless rate works out to be 8.9% of the total population. This makes it the highest rate of homelessness in South America as well.
To demonstrate the contrast, the second-highest rate in South America belongs to Peru with a homeless population of around 700,000. With a gross population of 32.97 million, this means Peru has a rate of homelessness of around 2.3%.
In Oceania, the country with the biggest homeless population, is Australia, with around 100,568 people on average without a home, per night. This is approximately 0.5% of the population. Second to Australia, is New Zealand, with a homelessness rate of 0.12%.
It is important to note that the comparison of the statistics available for homelessness between countries is seldom reliable. This is because oftentimes, there are different definitions for what constitutes homelessness from country to country.
For example, one country, such as the USA may consider those who sleep in emergency shelters, housing programs or safe havens as part of the homeless population, whereas other countries may not consider those who use temporary accommodation, rough sleepers or couch surfers as homeless people.
In short, the country with the highest rate of homelessness worldwide is Syria, with thirty-seven and a half per cent of their population living without a proper home.
However, Nigeria has the highest number of homeless people, with 24,400,000 citizens without proper living quarters.
Resources used to calculate the statistics used in this article:
Australia and New Zealand