Youth Homelessness
About Youth Homelessness in MN

Youth Experiencing Homelessness in Minnesota

youth standing in street

Every three years, Wilder Research conducts a statewide study to better understand the prevalence, causes, circumstances and effects of homelessness.

In their most recent study, Wilder found that on any given night in the state of Minnesota, more than 6,000 unaccompanied youth are experiencing homelessness.  Of these youth, 35 percent are age 17 and younger.

More than a third of the Minnesota youth experiencing homelessness in this survey were parents. Among those, 26 percent had a child with them at the time of the survey. 

Youth on Their Own

Young people age 24 and younger are the most likely to be homeless.

  • Nine out of 10 youth on their own had at least one adverse childhood experience, including trauma and abuse.
  • More than half (57 percent) of youth on their own reported significant mental health issues.
  • Homelessness disproportionately affects youth of color, who make up 73 percent of all Minnesota youth on their own.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of youth have been homeless for more than a year.
  • Youth younger than age 24 are the least likely to use shelters out of the total population experiencing homelessness.

Childhood histories of trauma and long-term health issues are common:

Adverse childhood experiences Youth on their own age 24 and younger Long-term health issues Youth on their own age 24 and younger
Physically abused as a child 46% Chronic physical health condition 36%
Sexually abused as a child 30% Significant mental illness 57%
Neglected as a child 29% Substance abuse disorder 13%
Ever in out-of-home placements 54% Evidence of traumatic brain injury 19%
Has a parent who has been incarcerated 59% At least one of the above 84%
At least one of the above 89% Two or more of the above 39%

Learn more about Minnesota youth served by LSS and some of the events that lead to their housing instability: