Geography and structural drivers of homelessness

This significant piece of research explores the rates of homelessness across Australia by geographic area over the ten year period from 2001 – 2011. It is the second phase of earlier research into the structural drivers of homelessness, completed in 2011/12. The key findings demonstrate the significant proportion of homelessness in northern and central Australia. It also highlights the significant rise in homelessness in outer metropolitan growth areas of cities such as Melbourne.

Key Findings

  • Homelessness is highest in the northern most part and central Australia and in small pockets of our major cities
  • Remote and very remote areas in northern Australia are experiencing disproportionate rates of homelessness.
  • The rate of homelessness in the Northern Territory is almost 15 times the national average.
  • The 10% of regions with the highest rate of homelessness account for 42% of all homelessness
  • The rate of homelessness in Victoria increased by 9.5% in the ten years, while the national rate dropped by 3.7%.
  • Regions where homelessness increased most are clustered around the coastal fringe, and in the metropolitan regions of our mainland state capitals.
  • Homelessness rates are rising in areas which have a shortage of affordable housing (relative to demand) and fewer homelessness services.
  • Homelessness rates fell in regions with a better supply of affordable rental housing
  • Regions with high income inequality and particular demographic profiles also tend to have higher homelessness.
  • We think that low cost private rental housing plays an important role in preventing those who are at-risk of homelessness from becoming homeless.

Get the fact sheet about the findings or look at these interactive maps.

Read The spatial dynamics of homelessness in Australia report.

Read The structural drivers of homelessness in Australia report.

This research was a collaboration between Launch Housing and the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT and was funded by AHURI.

This follows on from previous research conducted in 2012 on the Structural Drivers of Homelessness, exploring the relationships between the housing market, labour market, demographics, service availability and homelessness in Victoria.

Read The Structural Drivers of Homelessness: Exploring the Relationships Between Housing Market, Labour Market, Demographics, Service Availability and Homelessness in Victoria (February 2012) report.