• Author, Deb Mayer

Oregon Is #1 in the Nation for Homeless Children

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Oregon leads the nation in homeless children and youth. It would be splitting hairs to say it was a three-way tie between Oregon, Nevada, and District of Columbia. The lowest ranked states (those with the most homeless kids) had 19 times as many children living without housing as the highest ranked state. That is an extraordinary difference.

Which state has the lowest number of homeless children? It may come as a surprise to you as it did to me, that Mississippi, the state that ranks #4 overall for underprivileged children, has the lowest number of homeless kids. How did Mississippi do it? In future posts we'll be discussing the root of the problem in our state, what remedies are working in other states, and how we can apply tried and true strategies to Oregon's homeless family problem. We're inviting you to join us.

American's take great pride in boasting about being number one in a great many categories. We revel in having great athletes, musicians, and actors. But we also take top honors in some ways we'd rather not admit. The United States, in fact, has the seventh highest rate of child poverty — over 29 percent — among economically developed countries. Some states address the problems of underprivileged children better than others. To determine where children are most disadvantaged, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 26 key indicators of neediness.

Here we are focusing on how Oregon compares to other states while examining how poverty affects the most vulnerable citizens -- children. Roll over the map to compare states. Oregon is rated #15 overall. The higher the number from 1 to 51, the better for children in your state.

Listed here are the indicators used to determine the rankings. Find a more complete description of the methodology here.

Socio-economic Welfare

  1. Share of Children in Foster Care

  2. Share of Children in Single-Parent Families

  3. Share of Children Living with Grandparents & No Parent in the Home

  4. Children in Renter vs. Owner Household

  5. Unaccompanied Homeless Children & Youth Rate

  6. Share of Children Living in Low-Income Households Where No Adults Work

  7. Share of Children under 18 Years Whose Parents Lack Secure Employment

  8. Share of Children Living in Households with Below-Poverty Income

  9. Change in the Share of Children Living in Households with Below-Poverty Income

  10. Share of Children Living in Extreme Poverty

  11. Economic Mobility


  1. Share of Maltreated Children

  2. Share of Adolescents 9th to 12th Grade Who Felt Sad or Hopeless during the past year

  3. Child Food-Insecurity Rate

  4. Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 Births)

  5. Child Death Rate

  6. Share of Children Suffering from Depression

  7. Share of Uninsured Children

  8. Share of Poor Children Lacking All Seven Recommended Vaccines

  9. Share of Children with Unaffordable Medical Bills


  1. Public High School Graduation Rate

  2. Public High School Graduation Rate Among Economically Disadvantaged Students

  3. Young Children Not Enrolled in School

  4. State Pre-K Funding per Preschool-Aged Resident

  5. Quality of Public School System

  6. Share of Teens Neither Attending School Nor Working

2019’s States with the Most Underprivileged Children

Oregonians have a lot of work to do before they can establish boasting rights for healthy, happy, well-educated children in this state. Shelter is a basic need. Housing should be a fundamental right. In the coming days, weeks, and months, Parents Across America Oregon will investigate the social, economic, and political forces that converge to threaten families with children. In addition, we will be developing an action agenda to lift as many children as possible out of poverty and into homes. We invite you to join us, become involved with the Home Sweet Home Oregon project. and donate to PAA.

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