Demographic data from homeless count survey responses are used to identify trends in population dynamics and inform strategic planning efforts.
To gain a comprehensive understanding of Pasadena’s unhoused residents, volunteers asked all participants who were willing to engage in a series of survey questions. Responses were used to gather information on demographics and key characteristics of people experiencing homelessness in order to identify trends and inform strategic planning efforts.
While a survey was submitted for every unsheltered person who met HUD’s definition of homeless, volunteers completed abbreviated observation-only surveys when necessary in order to respect the choice of people who did not wish to complete a full survey. Observation-only surveys were also completed when people were sleeping or otherwise unable to engage. Respondents were not required to complete all questions and could decline to respond at any point during the survey. Therefore, the total number of responses for each question is not always equal to the total number of surveys conducted.
A complete set of survey responses is available to the public to download and view.
On the night of the 2022 Homeless Count, 512 people were experiencing homelessness in Pasadena. The total number of people experiencing homelessness is essentially level to pre-pandemic numbers and has been holding steady, as evidenced by Pasadena's three-year rolling average.
Altogether, volunteers counted 280 people (55%) in unsheltered locations or at our partner sites, and 232 people (45%) were in temporary shelter locations, including people living in transitional housing or those with a Pasadena-funded motel voucher. The proportion of people staying in sheltered locations has remained at similar levels across the past three years (44% in 2020, 42% in 2019).
The fact that sheltered rates have remained stable throughout the pandemic is particularly encouraging given the city's significant investments in emergency shelter resources over the last two years. These investments have focused on the provision of motel vouchers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the decompression of congregate shelter sites.
Where our Unhoused Population Sleeps
On the evening of the count, more than half (55%) of the city’s unhoused population was experiencing unsheltered homelessness and living on the streets, in cars, in abandoned buildings or transit centers, or in other locations not suitable for human habitation. Approximately 45% of people were living in sheltered locations such as transitional housing and emergency shelters, including hotels or motels paid for by charitable organizations or government programs. The number of people staying in emergency shelter programs mirrors 2020 data, indicating that Pasadena's emergency shelter system capacity has returned to pre-pandemic levels despite wide-scale decompression to preserve shelter residents' health and safety in response to COVID-19.
The large majority of people experiencing homelessness continue to be single individuals without children, although some people experience homelessness in couples.
Individuals, including single adults and unaccompanied youth, represented approximately 95% of the total households experiencing homelessness on the night of the count, while families with children represented 5% of all households. This finding has remained constant since 2019. Compared to families, single individuals are far more likely to be unsheltered (63% vs. 8%) and chronically homeless (60% vs. 9%), making this group even more visible to the public.
Gender & Age
The majority (68%) of people who experience homelessness in Pasadena identify as male, while 31% identify as female, and less than 1% identify as transgender or a gender other than singularly male or female. Men continue to be overrepresented compared to women, with the exception of unhoused families with children. This has been a longstanding demographic trend and mirrors the gender breakdown for people experiencing homelessness nationwide.
People between the ages of 40 to 61 are the most likely to experience homelessness (46%), followed by young adults between the ages of 25-39 (24%) and seniors aged 62+ (15%). However, 34% of people reported experiencing homelessness for the first time as a young adult, followed closely by seniors (27%) and youth aged 18-24 (21%). It is critical that housing interventions are quickly provided to all people experiencing homelessness as a platform for stability, particularly those approaching middle age, so they can properly recover and reintegrate into society while minimizing the trauma associated with the experience of homelessness. Further, homelessness prevention interventions should be tailored to young adults and seniors.
Race and Ethnicity
Centering racial equity is critical when discussing the homelessness crisis because while homelessness impacts all races and ethnic groups, it disproportionately affects communities of color.
For the purpose of the Homeless Count, race and ethnicity are considered separate and distinct identities to align with the U.S. Census Bureau data.
People who identify as Black or African American in Pasadena continue to be overrepresented, comprising 32% of the total homeless population compared to 8% of the city’s general population. White people are represented at slightly higher rates among the homeless population than among the general population (47% vs. 42%), while the proportion of Hispanic or Latino people is increasing among the homeless population. Hispanic and Latino people comprise just under half of the people experiencing homelessness (44%) compared to 33% of the general population, a disparity that has crept upward since 2020 prior to the pandemic. The proportion of American Indian and Alaskan Natives has also increased slightly since 2020 (3% vs. 2%) despite representing only 1.4% of the city’s population. Conversely, people who identify as Asian or multiple races were underrepresented among people experiencing homelessness.