An examination of 20 US urban areas found the number of deaths among people living without housing shot up by 77% in the five years ending in 2020.
The rising number of deaths is blamed on the danger faced by the increasing population of homeless people, ranging from street violence, to disease and drugs, reports The Guardian.
An estimated 18,000 people have died homeless from 2016 through 2020 in encampments, on sidewalks or in shelters, including 5,000 deaths in 2020 alone, according to an analysis conducted by the publication.
But because the federal government makes no effort to count deaths of homeless people nationally, experts estimate that the total number of deaths ranges between 17,000 and 40,000 every year.
People without a home face three times the risk of death of the general population, according to a local analysis of 2017 to 2019 deaths by Los Angeles county health department’s center for health impact evaluation.
It found homeless people in Los Angeles were 35 times more likely to die of drug or alcohol overdose, 16 times more likely to die of traffic-related injuries, such as being hit by a car, and 14 times more likely to be the victim of homicide.
In 2020, drug overdose deaths were the top cause of death among homeless people in every urban area that reported causes.