New figures show homeless deaths rose by 7.2% in fifth consecutive annual rise

Experimental Statistics of the number of deaths of homeless people in England and Wales. Figures are given for deaths registered in the years 2013 to 2019.

There were an estimated 778 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales registered in 2019, an increase of 7.2% from 2018 when there were 726 estimated deaths, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This increase was ‘not statistically significant’, but still represents the highest number of estimated deaths since the time series began in 2013.

The figures, released this week, do not however cover deaths that occurred during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Almost two in five deaths of homeless people were related to drug poisoning in 2019 (289 estimated deaths; 37.1% of the total number); the number of deaths from this cause has decreased by 1.7% compared with 2018, but is still 52.1% higher than 2017.

Suicides among homeless people increased by 30.2% in one year, from 86 estimated deaths in 2018 (11.8% of the total number), to 112 estimated deaths in 2019 (14.4% of the total number).

Most of the deaths in 2019 were among men (687 estimated deaths; 88.3% of the total).

Among homeless people, the mean age at death was 45.9 years for males and 43.4 years for females in 2019; in the general population of England and Wales, the mean age at death was 76.1 years for men and 80.9 years for women.

London and the North West had the highest numbers of deaths in 2019, with 144 (18.5% of the total number) and 126 (16.2% of the total number) estimated deaths of homeless people respectively.

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