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Abstract

This article, which examines epidemiological and policy correlates of homeless populations in 351 Massachusetts towns and cities, is based on an analysis of data from the 1990 U.S. census. It reviews the reliability of the most recent census data, reports findings on the distribution and characteristics of homeless persons in Massachusetts, and presents preliminary correlational findings on the impact of key demographic conditions and policies.

The report includes a meta-analysis of several studies that monitored the Census Bureaus street counts. It is estimated that 42.6 percent of the homeless on the streets in selected urban areas were counted by the census. This finding, as well as the results of a regression model that accounted for 68 percent of the variation in street rates in twenty Massachusetts cities with populations of more than 50,000, was used to compute adjusted rates for the remaining towns and cities. Overall adjusted rates for Massachusetts, Boston, and selected areas compared well with independent estimates and counts. The study suggests that at least 10,155 Massachusetts residents were homeless in 1990.

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