Evidence of a Strong Easterlin Effect in the Demography of Homelessness in the U.S.

Ethan J. Sharygin, University of Pennsylvania
Herbert L. Smith, University of Pennsylvania
Vitor F. Miranda, University of Pennsylvania

The number of homeless residing in shelters is an important stratum of the overall U.S. homeless population. There is clearly a period-specific component to homelessness -- the state of the economy, the housing market, the presence and funding level of programs targeted at homelessness. We focus on the contribution of demographic dynamics to change in the U.S. shelter homeless. Easterlin proposed that relative cohort size identifies cohorts at birth by the economic conditions they are likely to experience in adulthood. We define cohorts according to an Easterlin cohort term, and fit a model using this term to counts of the sheltered homeless population from repeated cross-sections. Our model of homelessness finds strong evidence of an Easterlin cohort effect.

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Presented in Poster Session 9