Nearly 25% more homeless in Spain since 2012

by Lorraine Williamson

Spain had 28,552 homeless people in 2022. A report on the situation of homeless people in Spain was published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) on Wednesday. Over the past 10 years, the number of homeless people in Spain has increased by 24.5%.  

The main reason for becoming homeless is having to start over after arriving from another country (28.8% of the total). This is followed by job loss (26.8%) and eviction (16.1%). Foreigners cited having to start over after migration as the main reason (54.1%). Among those with Spanish nationality, it was because they lost their jobs (26.7%).  


Thus, in 2022, 28,552 people were helped in various types of shelters, 21,900 men and 6,652 women. The majority of homeless people are men (76.7%). However, the statistics show that the proportion of women in this situation has increased to 23.3%. In 2012, it was 19.7%.  


51.1% of homeless people are younger than 45 years, 43.3% between 45 and 64 years and 5.5% are older than 64 years. The average age is 42.9 years. 50.1% have Spanish nationality and 49.9% have foreign nationality. 93.3% of Spaniards are registered in a municipality, compared with 75.8% of foreigners. Of these, 53.3% have African nationality, followed by America (25.9%) and Europe (16.7%). 43.1% of homeless foreigners have been in Spain for more than five years.  

Autonomous communities 

The numbers come to 86.6 homeless people per 100,000 inhabitants. In terms of autonomous communities, the highest figures are in the autonomous city of Ceuta (391.4), the Basque Country (315.9), the autonomous community of Navarre (214.7) and Cantabria (182.6), compared to the autonomous community of Valencia (14.8), Catalonia (42.6), Castilla-La Mancha (45.0) and the region of Murcia (48.4), which have the lowest numbers.  

What do homeless people need? 

32.5% of people had no housing for less than a year, 27.0% between one and three years and 40.5% for more than three years. 36.6% of women have been homeless for less than a year, compared to 31.2% of men. 82% of homeless people say they need a house or a room to get out of the situation, 78.0% say they need a job and 38.6% say they need financial benefits. The survey also revealed that 89.2% of homeless people spend the night in the same place every night.  

Family situation  

As for their family situation, 24.9% of people in this group say they have a partner, and of these, half live together. 11.0% are married, 23.0% divorced or separated, 63.7% single and 2.3% widowed. Five out of 10 homeless people have children.  

77.5% of the total have lived with their parents until the age of 18, 10.7% only with their father or mother, 5.8% with their grandparents or other relatives, 3.9% in a shelter and 2.2% with other people who were not relatives. 20% of homeless people say they lived in a family situation without serious problems or conflicts until the age of 18.  

11.3% received higher education  

65.0% of the homeless population had secondary education, 23.8% had primary education or less and 11.3% had higher education. Interestingly, 12.4% of women have a university education compared to 7.7% of men.  

Cogesa Expats


5.4% of the homeless said they were working, 71.2% said they were unemployed, 6.4% were disabled, 4.1% were retired or retired and the remaining 12.9% said they were in some other situation. More than half of those who said they were unemployed said they were not looking for work (52.3%) for health reasons (42.5%) and because they did not have papers (21.8%)


The main sources of income of the homeless population (32.6%) are public benefits, such as the minimum income, minimum living expenses, unemployment benefits, contributory pensions and other types of public benefits and support. The Renta Mínima de Inserción (a more specific government benefit for people with integration problems) is the main source of income for 7.6% of homeless people. 5.0% indicate that their main source of income is the minimum income and another 6.1% receive mainly contributory pensions. 6.9% receive financial support from a family member (6.9%), 6.7% from work and 6.5% from NGOs. 29.9% of homeless people say they have no source of income.  


In terms of the goods and services they spend the most money on, food (64.1% of the total), tobacco (20.8%), clothing (18.7%) and housing (18.0%) stand out. Besides housing (62.7 %) and canteen services (65.8%), homeless people ask for other social services such as information, counselling and shelter (47.4%) and hygiene services (44.3%).  


68.0% of foreign homeless people have a health insurance card, compared to 92.9% of Spaniards. 55.8% of homeless people say they are in good or very good health, while 14.9% perceive their health as poor or very poor. 37.4% of homeless people say they have a chronic illness. The most common is mental illness, which affects 9.4% of homeless people and has been diagnosed in 9.1% of men and 10.7% of women.  

70.3% do not think they are infected with COVID-19, 27.2% have been hospitalised, isolated or quarantined and 2.5% think they may be infected but have not been tested. 85.1% have received the COVID-19 vaccine, 9.0% have refused to be vaccinated and 3.3% are not registered to receive the vaccine. 

59.6% show depressive symptoms, a rate that rises to 67.8% in women. These rates are higher than those of the general population (12.9% were, in women 16.6%). 20.5% of homeless people have disabilities.  


55.7% of homeless people said they do not use alcohol, 40.5% said they do so lightly or moderately. Only 3.9% reported high or excessive alcohol consumption. There are more abstainers among women than men.  

Also read: Food banks in Spain now have longer queues

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