Raw Data: Homelessness in Los Angeles

Skid row in downtown Los Angeles.Kevin Drum

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I was fiddling around with some numbers about homelessness in Los Angeles and came up with this. Note that the housing index has been adjusted for inflation:

There are reasons to be cautious about interpreting this. The homeless numbers are from HUD’s Point-In-Time program, which is known to be of mediocre accuracy. Even worse, there’s also some evidence that its methodology has changed over the years, which makes annual comparisons a problem. On the housing side, the Case-Shiller index is the average for houses. It doesn’t necessarily say much about either the availability or price of cheap rental stock.

All that said, it’s a pretty remarkable correlation, isn’t it? So I decided to try a few other cities:

None of them fit as nicely as the Los Angeles chart, but they definitely suggest a correlation between housing prices and homelessness. I assume this is no surprise to anyone, but it’s kind of interesting to see it set out like this.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

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And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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