This growth is not confined to any one region
. Since school year 2013-14, rural student homelessness increased in 38 states, 14 of which saw increases at more than twice the national rural growth rate. In 15 states, the number of rural homeless students grew even as total rural student enrollment declined.
The steep climb in rural student homelessness may be due in part to better identification practices at the school level. Increased identification means these children are more likely to receive resources they need, but it also reveals the underlying crisis of housing instability faced by many rural communities.
Though the homeless student population continues to be predominantly urban, policy responses often leave rural homeless students—who face fundamentally different challenges than their non-rural peers—undercounted and underserved. Any approach to student homelessness that ignores the local dynamics of the issue erases the one in eight homeless students who live in rural America.