122,494 people were counted as homeless on Census night.
The ABS Statistics on homelessness were released last week. The statistics reveal a marked increase in homelessness for women and girls.
Of the 122,494 people counted as homeless,
- The number of women experiencing homelessness increased by 10.1%, compared to 1.65% for men.
- The number of women aged between 35 – 44 years increased by 19.6% compared to 2016.
- Women accounted for 81.7% of the increase in people experiencing homelessness in 2021.
- The number of women over 55 years counted as homeless increased by 6.6%
- Almost 24% of all people experiencing homelessness were young people
- The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing homelessness increased by 6% to 24,930
- The rate of homelessness per 10,000 was 306.8 for Indigenous people compared to 34.9 for non-Indigenous people
- There was a slight decrease in the number of people experiencing homelessness from 50 people per 10,000 to 48 people per 10,000.
Impact of COVID-19
The Census statistics for 2021 are impacted by the measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Across Australia, concerted efforts were made to move people who were sleeping rough or in overcrowded dwellings into safe accommodation.
The consequence is an increase in the number of people living in temporary lodgings (eg hotels or motels) and boarding houses.
|2016||% change 2011||2021||% change 2016|
|People living in improvised dwellings, tents, or sleeping out||6,810||-6.1%||8,200||20.4%||7,636||-7%|
|People in supported accommodation for the homeless||21,258||22.6%||21,235||-0.1%||24,291||14%|
|People staying temporarily with other households||17,374||-1.6%||17,725||2.0%||16,597||-6%|
|People living in boarding houses||14,944||-3.3%||17,503||17.1%||22,137||26%|
|People in other temporary lodgings||682||36.1%||678||-0.6%||3,934||480%|
|People living in ‘severely’ crowded dwellings||41,370||31.2%||51,088||23.5%||47,895||-6%|
- Due to efforts to protect people sleeping rough from COVID there was a decline of 7% in people sleeping rough
- There was a reduction in the number of people in overcrowded accommodation and temporarily staying with other households
- During COVID, people were moved into hotels and motels for the first time, as shown by the 480% increase in people living in ‘temporary lodgings.
- The number of people living in overcrowded dwellings is the most common form of homelessness, although this number declined by 6% since the last Census.
Older people experiencing homelessness:
|Age||45–54||% change 2016||55–64||% change 2016||65–74||% change 2016||Over
|% change 2016|
- The number of women over 45 years is increasing at a faster rate than men
- All age cohorts of women over 55 years has increased, although the cohort aged 45 – 54 years was the fastest growing at 10.2%.
- There is a marked increase in the number of women aged 45 – 54 years experiencing homelessness, and all age cohorts of women over 45 years of age have increased.
- The total number of women over 45 years increased by 8.2% to 13,235
- The total number of women over 55 years increased by 6.6% to 7,325.
What the 2021 Census data told us about Homelessness – A Brief by AHURI