Most Americans consider homelessness to be a very serious problem now, and nearly two-thirds say it's worsened in the past two years, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey.
Rasmussen found that 87% of American adults say homelessness is a serious problem, including 61% who say the problem is very serious. Only 9% say homelessness is not a serious problem. These findings are nearly unchanged since May.
Approximately 421,400 people were homeless in the U.S. last year, and 127,750 were chronically homeless, meaning they didn't have a place to stay for a year or more, according to data from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
Homelessness rates have been rising nationally by about 6% every year since 2017, the alliance said.
According to the Rasmussen survey, a majority of Americans say homelessness should be primarily a state (36%) or local (18%) responsibility, while 30% say it should be a federal responsibility; 16% are not sure.
Democrats (40%) are more likely than Republicans (22%) or those unaffiliated (26%) to say homelessness should be primarily a federal responsibility. Forty-one percent of Republicans, 28% of Democrats, and 39% of the unaffiliated say states should be primarily responsible for dealing with homelessness, while 23% of Republicans, 15% of Democrats, and 17% of the unaffiliated say homelessness is primarily a local responsibility.
Majorities of every political category — 57% of Democrats, 64% of Republicans, and 62% of the unaffiliated — say homelessness is a very serious problem, Rasmussen noted.
Twenty-six percent of Democrats say homelessness in America has deteriorated in the past two years, but only 4% of Republicans and 6% of the unaffiliated agree. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans, 46% of Democrats, and 71% of the unaffiliated say the homelessness situation has worsened in the past two years.
Adults under 40 in the Rasmussen survey are less likely than their elders to say homelessness has deteriorated in the past two years, and are more likely to consider it to be primarily a federal responsibility.
Women surveyed (39%) are more likely than men (32%) to say homelessness should be primarily a responsibility of the states. Women over 40 are most likely to say the problem of homelessness in America has worsened in the past two years.
Unmarried adults are more likely than their married peers to say homelessness is a very serious problem, and to think it's deteriorated in the past two years.
Americans earning over $200,000 a year are less likely to consider homelessness a very serious problem, and more likely to think it has improved in the past two years.
The survey of 1,085 American adults was conducted on Sept. 19-21 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is plus/minus 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
Peter Malbin, a Newsmax writer, covers news and politics. He has 30 years of news experience, including for the New York Times, New York Post and Newsweek.com.
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