05 December 2012

Homelessness Deadly In Denver

In the twelve years from 2000 through the present, 677 homeless people have died in Denver.  The average age of death was 46 years old.

The tally doesn't even count all of the homeless who died in Dennver -- just those who were unattended at the time of death, the ones found in alleys or under bridges or those under a doctor's care for less than a day before death . . . . It also doesn't count people living in temporary housing such as motels.
At any given time, Denver has about 600 people meeting this definition of homelessness limited to true vagrants.  Thus, the death rate for vagrants in Denver is roughly 9% per person-year. 

This compares to roughly 0.8% for the population as a whole in the United States, a rate which is lower for a population with the age, race and gender demographics of Denver's vagrant population.  The death rate for forty-six year old non-Hispanic white males is about 0.5% per year, and for forty-six year old black males is about 0.7% per year.  Thus, being homeless in Denver makes you about fifteen times more likely to die than you would be if you weren't homeless.

Put another way, the statistical cause of death (as opposed to the "proximate" cause of death listed on a death certificate) in 93% of those 677 deaths over the last twelve years (i.e. 622 of them) was homelessness.  Only about 45 of those 677 people would have died, on average, had they not been homeless.

Of course, life is complicated and there are lots of way to characterize the causes of these deaths.  Many of these deaths are related to substance abuse problems (like drug overdoses or alcohol abuse) or are suicides, all of which could be classified as deaths from mental health problems.  These causes accounted for 303 of the deaths, almost half.  Moreover, many of the vagrants who die from accidents or exposure or untreated illnesses or homicides which their homelessness made them vulnerable to are on the street because they have mental health problems.

1 comment:

Clark Harding said...

So here it is if that number is what on average vagrents do die on the street then is the camping ban really the way to go