Homeless mortality in Harris County in 2008

Sara Staggs, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Little research has been on homeless mortality, but what has been done indicates that homeless people have higher mortality rates than the general population. Homeless decedents in Harris County in 2008 who were referred to the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office (HCMEO) were described by age, race/ethnicity, sex, and marital status and compared to the homeless population as enumerated by the Coalition of the Homeless (COH) in 2007. Of the 47 decedents, eight (17%) were female and 39 (83%) were male, 24 (51.1%) were non-Hispanic white, 11 (23.4%) were black, and 12 (25.5%) were Hispanic, none of the decedents were listed as married, however, a large number (29, 61.5%) were listed as “unknown,” and the average age of decedents was 50 years, six years older than the average of 44 years in the general homeless population. Most common causes of death were injuries, which included motor vehicle accidents, homicides and suicides and poisonings, (acute overdose and chronic substance use). Homeless decedents were representative to the larger Harris County homeless population.

Subject Area

Social work|Public health

Recommended Citation

Staggs, Sara, "Homeless mortality in Harris County in 2008" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467494.