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Poll: Over a quarter of Americans have worried about homelessness

The fear of losing one’s home has weighed on the minds of many Americans at some point. A recent CBS News poll shows that more than a quarter say there has been some point in their lives when they worried about not having a place to live: this is true for 28% of Americans.

And for some, that fear has become a reality at some point. Thirteen percent of Americans say that they have been evicted or have lost a home in their lives. Another 33% of Americans know someone else who has lost a home. 

But the fear of homelessness doesn’t loom over all Americans equally. Instead, concerns about losing one’s home is most pressing on lower-income Americans. Half of Americans with household incomes of under $25,000 – below the national poverty line for a family of four in the U.S. – say they have worried about losing their homes, and 22% in this income range have personally experienced it. In contrast, relatively few Americans earning $50,000 a year or more have had this worry.

This is also true when viewed by race and ethnicity. Black and Hispanic Americans — who also tend to have lower household incomes than White Americans — are considerably more likely than White Americans to have experienced the fear of being homeless.

This poll was conducted by telephone April 13-18, 2021 among a random sample of 1,011 adults nationwide.  Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Glen Mills, PA.  Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone.

 Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers. The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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