Shelter shocked by increase in homelessness deaths

Posted 01 Oct 2019

Today, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released new figures on the number of homeless people who died in England and Wales in 2018. The figures show:

  • In 2018, an estimated 726 homeless people died in England and Wales, with 692 (95%) of those in England. This is the biggest annual increase (22%) since records began

  • The number of estimated deaths in England and Wales has increased by 51% over the last five years (between 2013 and 2018)

  • Last year, the areas with the highest numbers of estimated deaths were Birmingham (23), Newcastle (20), Manchester (19), Bristol (17) and Liverpool (16).

  • In 2018, the average age at death of homeless people was 45 for men and 43 for women. This is more than 30 years lower than the average age at death of the general population of England and Wales.

  • There were 148 estimated deaths in London, the highest of any region*. This accounts for 20% of deaths in England and Wales.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “This is a moment to pause and reflect on what matters to us as a society. These tragic deaths are the consequence of a housing system that is failing too many of our fellow citizens.

“We desperately need to set a new course, and to do that we need urgent action.

“You can’t solve homelessness without homes, so we are calling on all parties to commit to building the social homes we need to form the bedrock of a more humane housing system.”

Notes to editors:

  • The number of homeless people who died in England and Wales is the estimated number of homeless people who died who were rough sleeping or living in emergency accommodation, such as shelters and hostels, at or around the time of death. The is available at ONS, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018, Table 1.

  • Deaths of homeless people were identified from the death registration records held by ONS, and a statistical method of modelling was applied to estimate the most likely number of additional registrations not identified as homeless people. The method used provides a robust but conservative estimate, so the real numbers may be higher.

  • The number of homeless people who died in England and Wales increased from 597 in 2017 to 726 in 2018. The is available at ONS, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018, Table 1

  • The number of homeless people who died every day last year is calculated by dividing the estimated number of homeless people who died in England and Wales in 2018 (726) by the number of days in a year.

  • The number of homeless people who died in England is the estimated number of homeless people who died who were rough sleeping or living in emergency accommodation, such as shelters and hostels, at or around the time of death. The is available at ONS, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018, Table 6

  • The five-year increase in the number of estimated deaths of homeless people in England and Wales is calculated by comparing data from 2018 with data from 2013. This is available at ONS, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018, Table 1

  • The areas with the highest numbers of estimated deaths is from ONS, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018, Table 7

  • Although London is a city, it is counted as a region because it is made up of 32 different local authorities. The region with the highest numbers of estimated deaths is from ONS, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018, Table 6

  • The average age at death is the mean age at death of homeless people. This is available at ONS, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2018, Table 2

  • In the general population of England and Wales, the mean age at death was 76 years for men and 81 years for women. This is 31 years higher than the mean age at death for men and 38 years higher than the mean age at death for women. The mean age at death for the general population of England and Wales is available at ONS, Average age at death - by sex, UK